Health Tips and Exercise Series – Endurance and Strength
Being able to move, lift, and go about your day efficiently and comfortably with prosthetic or orthotic technology is essential. Let’s look at exercises for endurance and strength to keep you active and healthy throughout the year.
Endurance or cardio exercises can burn calories, lower blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar, and aid in sleep. Walking is a great place to start. Once you are comfortable walking on a flat surface, try walking on an uneven surface and adding in slopes. For those that are able, other forms of activity to consider are stationary bikes, rowers, and swimming.
Remember, if you haven’t been active, start small and work your way up. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate to vigorous activity per week. Thirty minutes a day five days a week is an easy goal to remember. Just keep in mind, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself based on your own health and abilities.
Strength training can build muscle, help manage your weight, boost your metabolism, increase bone density, and reduce the risk of injury. There are many different strength training exercises that can be done with your own body weight, resistance tubes, exercise equipment, or weights. Choose what works best for you. It is also important to be aware of your form and strive for correct technique to maximize the benefits to your body and minimize any risks.
Strength exercise samples:
Place the back of a stable chair with armrests against a wall. While sitting in the chair, place your hands on the armrests. Push down into the armrests to raise your hips one to two inches off of the seat, hold, and return to original position. To increase difficulty, lift one leg.
Begin by having something stable to hold on to. Place even weight in both legs, keep your core engaged, and squat part way down as if you are sitting back and down on a very tall stool. Return to original position and repeat. To increase difficulty, do not hold on to anything while performing this exercise, or increase to full squat.
Begin by having something stable nearby to hold on to. Place your back against a wall. Slowly slide your body down the wall until your knees are slightly bent, hold for up to 30 seconds, and breathe. Return to original position and repeat. To increase difficulty, do not hold on to anything, slide a little lower down the wall, or do this on one leg and then alternate to the other leg.
Lie face down on the floor with feet hip-width apart, and arms either straight ahead or stretched out to the sides. Tighten the lower back muscles. Begin by raising only your arms, hold, and return to original position. Next raise only your legs, hold, and return to original position. To increase difficulty, lift arms and legs at the same time, hold, return to original position, and repeat.
Lay on the floor with your elbows under your shoulders. Keeping your knees and forearms on the floor, raise your hips off the floor and hold while maintaining a straight spine. To increase difficulty, place your toes down and lift your knees off the floor.
Both endurance and strength exercises can be done at home, outdoors, or in a gym. Trainers or hired professionals can also help to ensure correct form and assist with questions you may have along the way.
Stay tuned for the upcoming blog in our Health Tips and Exercise series on stretch, meditation and healthy eating. If you missed it, take a look at our last blog in the series on Coordination and Balance.
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