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Clever Cardio for Those with Mobility Issues

By , SparkPeople Blogger
One of my mantras is: "That which I cannot do now is my aspiration, not my defeat."
If you are have trouble moving or haven’t exercised in awhile, it can be very daunting to take on new cardio moves.  Most cardio moves involve the need to be on your feet, so I’m going to give you a few that don’t.  This is part of the CAN DO SparkPeople attitude I would love to see people embrace.
As most of you know, I was totally bedridden at 460 pounds and have lost 150 pounds.  I had to come up with some cardio moves that did not involve my legs because at that time, I couldn’t use them.  Clever Cardio, let’s call it.  That’s the cardio you come up with when you think out of the box or throw the box out completely.  Remember everything is better with music.
Here are some exercises that worked for me. Always consult with your health-care provider before starting any new workout routine.
Punch Aerobics

I created these exercises to be done seated or standing.

Get 2 hand weights, the round kind that fit in your palm with a band that go over the front of your hand. Put on music and punch and do upper body dance moves.

Get a pillow. Put on music and punch the pillow up above you. The goal is to keep the pillow up. If it falls, pick it up and start again, just keep going, because the pillow WILL fall a lot. It's part of the game.
Yes, with or without your legs!  Simply put on your favorite music and strike a few poses.  Get crazy and just let go and move.  Add extra resistance with hand weights.  I personally like the 80’s music!
Hula Hands and Hips
Get two Frisbee Flying Rings.  Use one on each hand and make circles like you are spinning the hoops around your wrists.  
Make figure eights with your hips on a stability ball.  This is another one where you can really get creative with seated dance moves!
Resistance Bands and Hand Weights
Moving faster with these items will produce a sweat in a hurry and help you build muscle.
Sometimes I clean for my workout.  It sounds silly, but with my abilities (NOT disabilities) it is well suited to give me personally a sweaty workout.  That’s something I like to focus on now, my abilities- what I CAN do, rather than what is out of my reach. 
When it comes to exercise, nothing is out of bounds, too silly or too little to help.  Something is always better than nothing. 
What exercises do you use when you can't use your legs?

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Awesome! Thanks for the inspiration and suggestions. I have been on and off doing a chair workout program, but never really stuck to it because I didn't think it was "as good as" working out standing up. This has inspired me to keep pushing and wait for the results. Report
HEALIN1 11/20/2018
Wonderful article, very encouraging. Just move, thanks Report
RYCGIRL 10/25/2018
thanks Report
L_DROUIN 10/14/2018
I liked the way that you see abilities and not disabilities! I have lots of abilities. Report
VFAITHFUL1 10/5/2018
Great encouragement! Thank you! Report
Some days you don't have that moving feeling excellent advice!!!!

RAZZOOZLE 8/30/2018
thank you Report
Thanks. I remembered your advice when traveling for 2 days in the car. I put on a CD and moved as much as I could in the confines of the car. I got in a lot of "steps" on my fitbit. You are an inspiration. Report
Thank you! Sounds like fun! Report
KHALIA2 8/6/2018
I like your attitude! Thanks for sharing! Report
SCOOBYMARE59 7/15/2018
Get tips! and great attitude. Report
USMAWIFE 7/10/2018
thank you Report
FISHGUT3 7/8/2018
thanks Report
I love your attitude and this post! I recently had a hip replacement which has increased my mobility, but I'm so glad to hear that no matter your ability, moving is moving and worthwhile! Report
SIMPLY_JAE 5/25/2018
Thank you Beth..for the great ideas Report
PAMBROWN62 5/21/2018
I have found a whole host of seated chair workouts that assist me to keep moving when the worst flare ups with my autoimmune disease happens. I do something every day to keep moving and get my heart rate pumping. Report
AQUAGIRL08 5/18/2018
Thanks for the tips, Beth! Report
MSROZZIE 5/6/2018
Where there is a will, there is a way! Excellent article, and very helpful, thanks! Report
PATRICIAANN46 5/3/2018
Thank You for the great suggestions. Report
As I had to find some exercises to do a few years ago when I could not put weight on one leg, I found a number of seated exercise DVDs-- Sara Starr's chair yoga is great for stretching (although you have to make sure that you are getting those where she is doing the whole routine seated). Richard Simmons has an aerobic DVD "Sit Tight" that truly gets your heart beating, but since it is older, it is a bit hard to get now. The series Sit and Be Fit is on a number of PBS stations, and you can also buy DVDs of the series. Sit and Be Fit incorporates stretching, strength training and some mildly aerobic activity.

What I have found is that if your muscles are very tight (especially back/neck/shoulder muscles) that even certain types of stretching can get you out of breath. Not quite sure what the dynamics of that are, but it sure surprised me when it happened. Report
TRIMNUP 4/30/2018
Very creative moving ideas. I especially like figure eights with your hips on a stability ball bc it's easier on my back. The pillow punch could also serve getting one's aggression out as well! Report
2DAWN4 4/28/2018
I love to dance! Report
IAMAUNTYEM 4/27/2018
Fun blog! 8-) Report
NASFKAB 4/24/2018
Useful ideas Report
JVANAM 4/19/2018
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. - WHITE ELK ~ 4/19/18 Report
ARMY_MOM17 2/23/2018
... thanks for the article...i love all the ideas... Report
TIZSLIM 2/12/2018
Thanks Beth. Superb ideas. You are an inspiration. Report
AMYRCMK 2/11/2018
Thank you Report
VHAYES04 1/30/2018
Thanks for the ideas Report
TERRI1458 1/29/2018
I really needed this article today. I am going to have a procedure on my foot tomorrow and don't know if I will be able to walk tomorrow. I love to walk and walk a lot during the week. We will see what happens but if I can't walk then at least I have some exercises I can do. I like to be creative about exercise! Report
PWILLOW1 1/29/2018
MBPP50 1/29/2018
Great ideas. Report
GGRSPARK 1/28/2018
This is very good information fir any one of us who mught find ourself in this position. The pillow punch ? Genius. Report
MSROZZIE 1/28/2018
Thank you for this article. Very good tips! Report
ELYSUMMERS1 1/28/2018
Thank you. These are good ideas when I'm not feeling like getting up for whatever the reason. Really appreciate this! Report
SUSAN727 1/28/2018
I prefer the seated exercise videos and lately Marie Osmond exercise bar which can be used seated. Report
EMGERBER 1/28/2018
Some suggestions! Report
JANET552 1/28/2018
I use seated workouts from Spark People and from You Tube. Report
LAWLI56 1/28/2018
Like you I use housework as a workout, it always gets my heart pumping. Also last year I was decorating - I sit on my perching stool with a roller on a pole and go for it. My nephew will usually come and do the cutting in along the top and bottom edges for me and anything else I can't reach. I have to pace myself as it's quite a workout but it also gives a great sense of achievement when finished! Report
PAMBROWN62 1/28/2018
I love the seated chair exercise videos. They are just the thing when my auto immune disease is really affecting my joints. Report
CRYS41484 1/22/2018
These are great ideas I never thought of before. I'm trying to exercise more, but after having two knee surgeries and ankle surgery, my lower body will ache for days after some exercises. This is a wonderful alternative! Report
AMYRCMK 1/12/2018
Thank you for sharing these are great! Report
DJ4HEALTH 1/8/2018
Great info Report
I love your inspiring can do attitude. Thank you for a reminder of how to move within my own range. Will try many of these as soon as I get off the heavy duty antibiotic. Report
Beth, I'm sorry, but I just gotta say it..: I LOVE you!!!! You are such a blessing to so many people. Thanks for taking your personal struggles and finding a way to help others. Report
I am one of these people and I think these are great Report
When I started this journey I couldn't stand for longer than 45 seconds. Coach Nicole started me on Chair Cardio & Chair Core workouts for like 11 minute & maybe 12 minute blocks and now I literally workout for hours on some days (when you combine cardio & yoga and/or my walks in). Thanks Coach Nicole!! Report
great ideas Report
Cleaning, and seated dance are both in my list already. If you can use your legs, add them into the dancing. Or try on-the-spot running! Report
Recovering from an injury & SO glad to have found this! INDYGIRL (Beth Donovan) & her blogs are always such an inspiration! Thanks! Report
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