Many cane users view their walking aid as an obstacle to being able to exercise, but this is far from the truth. Your cane can actually be used as a piece of exercise equipment. It can be used to perform balance exercises, to improve hand/eye coordination, and to decrease joint stiffness and pain.
Balance, hand-eye coordination
Eldergym.com offered a simple, yet effective balancing exercise whose purpose its to improve hand/eye coordination. This activity requires the participant to sit in a chair, holding his or her cane in their dominant hand. The objective is to remain focused on the top of the cane while you're balancing it. Once the exerciser is comfortable performing this task with the dominant hand, it is recommended to try using the non-dominant hand to balance the cane and then both hands.
Sharecare.com suggests the following strengthening exercises: bicep curls, side arm lifts, external rotation, chest press and overhead reach. Instructions on how to accurately execute these exercises can be found here.
Increase range of motion
If you have recently had surgery on your shoulder or have a shoulder injury Healthpages.org recommends a cane exercise that will aid in increasing your shoulder range of motion (ROM). This exercise requires you to lie on the floor on your back, bend your knees and raise both arms towards the ceiling, while holding your cane. In order to be effective, your arms should be kept straight as you slowly lower your cane to the floor, returning to your original position. This exercise should be repeated ten to fifteen times, holding each stretch for as long as it is tolerable.
Learn the secrets of Cane Fu!
Cane Fu is a popular, trending activity that not only provides a good work out, but also teaches and prepares you for self-defense. Mark Shuey developed this martial art/exercise in order to help senior adults be able to defend themselves in the event of a personal attack. Participants learn how to use their walking cane as a weapon against would be attackers. Certified instructors teach the class members how to block hits, swing back, and hold down their opponent with their cane. The non-strenuous physical movements involved in the self-defense moves encourage healthy exercise and give the participants self confidence in protecting themselves. Cane Fu programs are held in assisted living facilities, senior citizen centers, and health clubs. Nifty After Fifty CEO Mike Merino endorsed Cane Fu with the statement that his chain developed these classes in order to "make a senior feel powerful with something that normally represents frailty."
Whether your exercise of choice is an activity to help your balance, range of motion, strengthening exercises, or Cane Fu, you cane do it.
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