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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What would be advisable exercises and stretches for a 60 year old with limited mobility?

    I currently use a zimmer frame and never really venture further than my front garden.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Cameron Phillips

    Exercise Physiologist

    Exercise Physiologist, Echuca, Deniliquin, Kyabram. Strength and Balance, Prevention of T2 Diabetes, CVD. Strength and ConditioningFarmer, chemical free Biodynamic (enhanced organic) pomegranates, pasture raised beef ... View Profile

    I would always recommend seeking help from an exercise physiologist or exercise professional. Your GP or practice nurse should be able to help you locate and exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.

    I would recommend starting with the simple sit to stand exercise performed with a sturdy kitchen table chair positioned against a wall. This exercise engages the major leg and glute muscles as well as torso muscles. Age related muscle loss accelerates rapidly after age 40. Loss of leg strength contributes greatly to lack of mobility, loss of confidence and further lack of mobility and ability to engage socially.

    FOR STRENGTH

    The sit to stand can be performed as follows:

    1. position a sturdy chair against a wall so that it will not tip back
    2. Align feet and knees at hip width or shoulder width on the floor
    3. Inhale and engage or slighlty tense abdominal muscles, sligthly bend knees and push hips back to sit down on the chair whilst continuing knee bend
    4. Just gently sit on the chair then rise immediately whilst exhaling
    5. Contract glute muscles throughout movement, standing up straight at the finish
    6. Repeat x10 if you can
    7. Advance to 3sets of 10 repetitions (sit to stands) with 1-2min rest between each 10.
    FOR STRENGTH - Glutes, Lower Back and Hamstrings
    Lying supine (on your back) hip extensions can also be performed on your bed as follows:
    1. Knees up, feet down.
    2. Contract glute muscles, inhale and raise hips up 10-20cm, hold and contract glutes for 3sec,
    3. lower and exhale. Repeat x10 every morning (advance to 3sets of 10)
    FOR MOBILITY:
    1. Gentle lower back rotations for lower back and hip mobility can be performed on the bed. Knees up, feet down, rotate knees left to right gently x10-20
    2. Standing elbow hinges for shoulder mobility: Place finger tips on temples, palms facing away like a double salute, move elbows forward to touch together in front of your face then pull your elbows back to the side of your head by squaring your shoulder blades back and squeeze gently with upper back muscles. Repeat x10-20
    WALKING:
    Perhaps purchase a walking frame with wheels and add another 10-20m distance to your walk every day past your front garden

    STRETCHING Calf Muscles:
    1. Calf stretch against wall, split stance, left foot forward, right foot back, press right heel down whilst leaning against the wall with both hands for 30s. Feel a stretch at the back of lower right leg
    2. repeat on left leg
    3. repeat on right leg with right knee slightly bent to move the stretch further down to your achilles region
    4. repeat on left leg 30s

    STRETCHING Hamstrings
    1. Sit on the edge of a chair with your right leg extended out straight and right toes pulled back toward body
    2. Sit very upright, then bend forward at the hips with left hand over right like a streamlining swimmer, reach forward and see if you can touch your toes. Hold for 30sec, continue to perform deep gentle breathing and add a little additional stretch with each exhale
    3. repeat on both legs 3x

    STRETCHING HIP FLEXORS (front of hip) and Back Extension
    1. this can be performed on bed, couch or floor
    2. lying on your belly, prop yourself up gently on your elbows and read a book for 5min. If you experience lower back pain you may not be able to perform this exercise and will require further help from exercise physiologist or physiotherapist
    3. if you can complete 5min in this position, increase to 10min.
    4. Gently move out of this posture when finished.

    Seek guidance from appropriate exercise therapist.

  • Dr Gail Jamieson

    Geriatrician (Aged Care Specialist)

    GeriatricianSPECIAL INTERESTS Dementia (including behavioural and psychological symptoms), capacity assessments, advanced care planning, comprehensive geriatric assessments, medication rationalisation, and community care. View Profile

    Everyone should exercise, no matter what degree of disability they have. Before undertaking any exercise programme it is important to visit your doctor and have a general check up for any cardiac, or respiratory disease, as well as any musculoskeletal injuries that may limit what exercise you can do safely.  As at any age, I would always advise to start out slow and gradually build up fitness. Muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness are both important, and balance training is also particularly improtant in falls prevention. 

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