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Easiest ways to keep active and moving indoors

Sometimes it can be hard to get the full amount of recommended daily exercise due to reduced mobility, but that doesn’t have to stop you from increasing your fitness levels at an older age. 

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Easiest ways to keep active and moving indoors

Sometimes it can be hard to get the full amount of recommended daily exercise due to reduced mobility, but that doesn’t have to stop you from increasing your fitness levels at an older age. 

So what does exercise really mean for the over 55? Tracey McAlpine at Fighting Fifty believes it’s the freedom to go about our everyday lives without pain, with good muscular strength to support the joints, and a mind that remains active and functioning. 

For those who are restricted to indoor surroundings, either following surgery or an illness, we have some great ways for you to keep moving whatever your age. And just like affordable stairlift costs, you don’t have to splash out on expensive fitness apparatus either. Many of our quick and easy tips for increasing your exercise activity require little to no equipment, not only preventing clutter in your home, but also looking after your bank balance - perfect for when the grandkids come to visit.

Image Credit: At Home Fitness.

 

Posture

Interestingly, muscles have a sense of memory which trains them to remember how to perform certain tasks or assume a certain position. If you are sitting or lying for a long period of time, the muscles fibres within your body will naturally think that position is normal, which isn’t what they are physically designed for. The body needs to keep moving for all aspects of muscle and skeletal properties to function properly, and it will increase your endorphin levels (happiness chemicals) too!

Armchair posture exercise

This is a simple yet effective way to increase upper body posture whilst sitting, and can be done in just a couple of minutes whilst watching your favourite television programme! Sit up at the edge of your armchair, with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Imagine a string slowly pulling your upper body upright, taking a deep breathe in to separate each vertebrae and accentuate the natural curve of the spine. If you are able, tilt your head downwards towards your feet to provide an extra stretch which will stretch the part of the spine that connects to the skull, giving you a better range of movement when rotating your head in everyday activity. 

Image Credit: jeviniya (pixabay.com)

 

Strength

The personal trainers from At Home Fitness have some great advice for those who are seeking improved fitness within the home. Personal trainer, Adam Coley says: “As we get older, exercise such as endurance and strength based workouts can provide us with improvements in posture, balance and coordination. This will help prevent loss of muscle and bone mass, reduce fall risk, increase confidence and improve overall quality of life.

“Using your body weight to exercise is great because it’s functional. Functional exercises help you gain strength for specific activities such as climbing the stairs, or sitting down and standing up. This helps you to stay in shape for day-to-day tasks that you may have started to find a little difficult,” he said.

For those who are browsing stairlift guides for their perfect mobility equipment piece for the home, it’s important that once you have it installed and ready to go, you are able to rise and sit from the chair comfortably. This is where strength exercises come in handy, giving you the opportunity to get from A to B in no time at all.

Building up the strength in the lower parts of your body such as the hips, legs and feet is essential in maintaining mobility when walking. A great way to start gently exercising these muscles and joints is the leg extension exercise. Holding onto the back of a chair or a work top, lift your leg backwards keeping it straight, and avoid arching your back. Make sure you don’t force your range of movement in your hip joint as this may cause injury, so only lift your leg back as far as you feel comfortable. Hold the stretch for five to ten seconds on each leg, as many times as you feel fit.

Image Credit: Engyles (flickr.com)

 

Flexibility:

There are some great exercises out there that incorporate flexibility to increase circulation and overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally. Flexibility is crucial in maintaining stability in your torso and allows your entire body to move freely without any niggling pains. 

For those who enjoy small and slightly less strenuous exercise, neck rotations is a great place to start when working on your flexibility. Rotate your head to the left for five seconds, stretching as far as you feel comfortable, return to a central position, and then do the same for the right hand side.

If you want to take an extra step, sideway body stretches are perfect for those who want to stretch both their spine and increase flexibility throughout both sides of the body. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and arms by your side, slowly slide your hand down as far as the outer part of your knee as possible, stretching the opposite side of your body. Repeat with the opposite arm.

Tracey at Fighting Fifty believes exercises such as Pilates and Yoga are wonderful for regaining flexibility as well as challenging you to use your bodyweight resistance. Tracey explains: “It needs little or no equipment and it can be done in the comfort of your own home and there are many programmes that you can follow from your computer or tablet, or even have a teacher visit you at home until you are familiar with the exercises.”

Image Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli (flickr.com)

 

Balance:

Balance is essentially the product of posture, strength and flexibility combined. Without focusing your attention on all three, balance and stability to do everyday tasks will be reduced. Here is a great exercise to make sure you get the best out of increasing your health and fitness.

Step training

In a recent article published online by Reuters, stepping skills and exercises cut the rate of falls and injuries by half and make everyday activities easier. Senior study author Stephen Lord at the University of New South Wales commented: “Strength and balance are both important for physical functioning, in terms of fall prevention, the best evidence is for balance and step training.”

The best place in your home to complete this exercise is at the bottom of your staircase, making sure you hold onto the hand rail or bannister. Start the exercise with your feet together and lead with one foot to step up onto the next level, and return back down with the same foot. Repeat with the other side. If you are feeling a little more confident and able, sideways walking will not only help with your balance but your cardiovascular fitness and strength in the lower body. Safely step sideways with the leading foot, followed by the other, making sure your legs are slightly bent to prevent locking of the knees and to feel the full benefit of the movement.

Of course looking after your body is essential for mobility and getting around, so make sure you know your limits. Adam adds: “Listen to your body – if it hurts, stop! Exercise should feel like your body is working, and if you’re not used to this it can sometimes feel moderately challenging.

“Don’t set your targets too high. Little and often is fine to begin with and once you are comfortable with what you are doing you can start to set yourself more of a solid routine with duration, intensity and frequency,” he said

If you are looking to push a little further in your exercise routines, personal training sessions at home are a great way to start increasing your health and wellbeing in an environment where you feel comfortable.

Image Credit: At Home Fitness 

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