As we age, using a walker for assistance may be necessary. A walker not only helps a senior stay mobile and independent, but it can also be a great exercise aid. Here, Liberty Resources Home Choices offers guidance on how older adults can perform gentle exercises with a walker, including going for walks with their caregivers in the Philadelphia metro area and eastern Pennsylvania.
Different Varieties of Walkers
Before using a walker as an exercise tool, it is important to understand the type of walker you have to better ensure your safety. Most walkers consist of lightweight frames with four rubber-tipped legs. However, some walkers have wheels. These models include:
- Two-wheel walker: This model includes swivel wheels on the front legs and rubber tips on the back legs. This enables the person to place their weight on the walker while moving forward without it rolling away.
- Three-wheel walker: This includes hand-operated brakes on top of the frame. The wheels are larger and the front wheel swivels, while the back two do not. This style enables mobility and stability.
- Four-wheel walker: A four-wheel walker has two swivel wheels and front and rear stabilizing wheels. These may also include a padded seat, allowing the user to rest as needed.
No matter the type or style, walkers for the elderly can enhance their mobility and allow them to access different rooms of their home and the outdoors.
Exercises for Seniors
Before considering any form of exercise, it’s important to consult with your general physician or a medical specialist for advice on the physical activities that may be optimal for you. Once you have the professional go-ahead, several simple and gentle movements can be performed with a walker. These include:
As simple as it may sound, taking strolls with a walker, even within the home, can greatly benefit the elderly. Walking requires no extra equipment and is a great form of cardiovascular activity. It allows you to stretch and strengthen all parts of the body at once – including the heart – and helps maintain and improve mobility and balance.
Doing short squats with your walker as a stabilizer is another great way to maintain leg, back, and even arm strength. With your feet facing the walker hold onto the grips and gently squat down, bending the knees and keeping the back straight. It isn’t necessary to squat low and you may want to perform this near a wall for added balance support.
March in Place
Marching in place is another excellent exercise for seniors. To do so, simply hang onto the grips and lift the knees as high as you can, and then rest the foot back down, alternating from one leg to the other. You may want to do these in a couple of sets.
Another great exercise is leg lifts. Stand facing toward the walker and hold the grips. Slowly lift the right leg outward toward the right and gently bring it back down to standing. Repeat this on the left leg, lifting it out toward the left, and then return to standing. This can be performed in multiple sets.
Moderate exercise for the elderly can be extremely beneficial. It keeps hearts and muscles healthy, as well as bones, potentially staving off osteoporosis and breakage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that physical activity and exercise can also help seniors maintain their mental health, possibly reducing the potential for depression and increasing their sense of independence.
Get Exercise Assistance from Highly Trained Caregivers
Walkers offer several benefits such as increased mobility and well-being. They can also be an excellent tool to assist in exercises for seniors. Liberty Resources Home Choices offers a wide variety of in-home and community services ranging from personal care to lifestyle support. If you or a loved one needs assistance with exercise or walker guidance, look to our compassionate staff in the Philadelphia metro area or eastern Pennsylvania. To find out more about the personal care we offer, contact us today.