February is American Heart Month. A time to advocate for and stress the importance of heart health, heart disease and heart attack prevention. A primary focus is on exercise and its positive impact on heart health. Walker and cane users may feel like they are precluded from participating in an exercise regimen. We are going to look at some ways that you can use your walker and/or cane as an exercise tool or accessory.
Exercising with Your Walker
As its name implies, the most common and simplest form of exercise that you can do with a walker is to walk. Walking is an excellent type of cardio exercise and requires no additional equipment. Using your walker to walk from one end of a room to another or to walk from room to room in your home, can strengthen your heart as well as your arms and legs, improving your balance and mobility.
Performing squats with your walker is another way to get your heart rate up and strengthen your joints, bones, knees, thighs, and hips in the process. Like walking, squats do not require any other accessory besides your walker. Simply hold onto your walker for support keep your back straight, bend at your hips and knees, and squat away. Do this exercise with your back near a wall for added safety.
Other workouts that can be done in short bouts, providing a high intensity workout, with your walker as your only accessory are: lunges, arm and leg lifts, sit-ups, and repeatedly using your walker to stand up and sit back down.
Exercising with Your Cane
Just as with the walker, the simplest exercise that you can do with your cane is to walk. Depending on your level of mobility and your comfort level, you can get a good walking workout indoors or outdoors. Indoors you can walk from room to room or up and down the stairs. If you can take it outside you can walk to the mailbox, the end of your street, or around the block, based on your own personal ability.
Your cane can also be used as an aerobics stretching aid. You can use it to do arm stretches, holding it with both hands and stretching it above your head as far as you can. This arm workout can be done either while standing up or while lying down on your back.
If you are interested in a little weight training, don't let your cane stop you. Combine it with long resistance bands and do a few bicep curls. Get your heart pumping and your muscles thumping at the same time.
Before you begin your walker or cane workout you may want to check with your physician and make sure that your equipment is in good condition and maybe accessorize it with walker balls or glides or cane wrist straps or tips to ensure your safety.
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