Studies are being cranked out regularly on how prolonged sitting can significantly shorten life spans of the sedentary. They have real meaning for us who are mobility challenged.
Unfortunately, I spend most of my day on a mobility scooter or in a chair. So, what should I do about it?
It is really common problem that affects many of us who are disabled, but it is not an excuse for just giving up.
I have been blessed with relatively good upper body strength, probably from moving around a rather sedate lower body. Up until about six years ago I was going to the gym three times a week, but as my Multiple Sclerosis took a stronger and stronger hold of my lower body I sort of drifted back into little or no conscious exercise.
I paid for it with pressure sores on my butt, making sitting or lying down quite a pain in the… well, you get the idea.
Through my wife’s careful treatment, I have again been able to use my mobility scooter and “controlled” sitting. I need to make sure I am on my feet for at least two or three minutes every hour.
More importantly, I have resumed my gym activity (a 20 minute ride away by mobility scooter).
My workout (during fair weather) won’t turn me into a musclehead any time soon, but it does help my leg muscles, helps me build core strength and upper body strength.
Days when I can’t make it to the gym don’t mean I’m dormant.
I have a wheeled walker for stability and use it a couple times a day; once to the mailbox and back and secondly, walking the length of the hall in front of our condo unit, parking the rollator and walking up and down a flight of stairs a couple of times. After rollating back to our unit, I don’t find sitting such a hazard.
To mix things up, I’ve come up with some alternatives:
Office chair rumba–Since our condo is mostly hard wood floors I can actually get some distance involved by using my feet to propel the office chair across my room, down the hall and into the living room. I can get pretty exhausted after one circuit, but at least it’s something.
Chair dancing–Instead of just sitting there when watching TV, get some bounce into the commercial. Face it, they now amount to about 20 minutes of each hour show. Put it to use: raise and lower your arms, (add weights) wiggle your hips, bounce, stretch your legs, tap your feet and have fun.
Power cleaning waltz–Haul out the vacuum cleaner and waltz it around the living room. Whether it is old and heavy or modern and light, a session of it will get you exercise.
If you are mobility challenged, a vacuum sweeper can act as a support. Move fast and do as much as you can without pain. Start with one room a day. Remember, any object you push or pull adds to your exercise.