Being disabled sometimes means that you can’t even walk at home. You are physically limited to your chair, couch, or bed. This can be frustrating, to say the least.
Walking is an important part of life. You need to walk to improve your physical health, mood, and overall quality of life.
What happens when you sit for too long, or you lay in bed for too long. You become weaker and weaker, and doing the one thing that can help improve your life becomes harder and harder.
This is why I believe and try to walk at home every day. Even on my worst days.
(click to learn more about Shawn)
How painful a walk at home can be on my bad days.
Being disabled means that you have good days, and you have bad days. On the good days, you might go for a walk at home, or even around the block of your house.
You may go to the park, or over to a friend’s house. But what happens when you have a bad day?
Or maybe a better question is what don’t you do on your bad days? I know for me, I don’t want to do anything.
I don’t want to be around anybody, I don’t want to go outside, and half the time I don’t even want to go for a walk in my own home.
How a walk at home can help with exercising
Yes, for exercise I like to walk at home and on my good days and venture outside on my really good days. The problem is, sometimes my good days are far and few in between.
Then that walk at home ends up turning into an unseemingly big mountain that I have to climb up but can’t.
Yet I know the importance of physical activity, even when I am in pain and just don’t want to do anything, or I am afraid that I will fall and won’t be able to get back up.
Yes, falling is a real fear that can plague the mind and destroy the body if you let it.
But I have found that by using the Youwalk™ chair, I am able to not only walk around my house for exercise but also do it without fear.
What walk at home exercises do I do.
A walk at home is pretty easy to do when I am having a good day, so for this section, I will be referring to my bad days. Even on my bad days, I like to walk at home to help prevent other types of disabilities in my body.
Start simply by just standing up for a length of time.
When I am in pain, I like to start with just simply standing with my Youwalk™ chair in front of me for support.
Start by trying to stand for five minutes. If you are still feeling okay after the first five, shoot for a full ten minutes.
You might have to sit back down after a minute or two. Don’t let this discourage you and try to stand again after a few minutes.
Even if you are trying to stand for short periods of time, this will help your overall physical health. I personally try to stand for short periods of time while watching an episode on T.V. It helps me keep my mind off my pain.
Next, try to walk from the living room to the kitchen few times.
No, you don’t need to get anything from the fridge and speed is not a factor here.
It is just about moving those muscles so they don’t start stiffing up on you when you are sitting for prolonged periods of time.
I find that the Youwalk™ chair really helps in this regard. Especially on my bad days.
I know that I tend to worry about myself falling, even when I am just walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
The fear of falling and not being able to get back up is a real fear that many of us with weakness in the legs experience.
Keep doing it and don’t stop, even on bad days!
Realize, that this is not about exercising to the extream here, it is just about working and loosening those muscles.
With disability, it is hard to do what others take for granted. Like I said before, a simple walk can feel like you are climbing a mountain.
But if you keep up with it and push yourself a little more each day (and not push so hard that it puts you down for days either. KNOW YOUR LIMITS!!!), you will find that your mood will improve, your pain will be reduced, and you will just generally feel better.
The facts about simple walks at home and how they can improve health
When looking at the health benefits of doing a little walk at home as opposed to doing nothing, the benefits far outweigh the pain.
Health24 did a nice article on prolonged bed rest (this should be taken as prolonged inactivity in general as the effects are the same).
Here are some of the highlights that their research found.
Your musculoskeletal system functions best when in the upright position against gravity.
Your body has what they call “weight-bearing muscles”. These are muscles that are designed to stand against gravity.
Our bodies are designed and meant to stand against gravity. When we do not do so we then these muscles become underdeveloped and weak.
The weight bearing muscles are located in your neck, abdomen, lower back, buttocks, and thighs, and calves.
These are very important muscles and you do not want them to get TOO weak as they contribute muscle strength to your whole core body.
Did you know that it only takes a week for your muscles to decrease by 20%-30% if you are on complete bedrest!
This can affect your coordination, and nervous system as well.
Furthermore, it takes a lot longer to regain that strength than it does to keep it. This is why a simple walk at home exercise can do wonders for your physical health.
Prolonged inactivity can affect your bone density as well.
You can lose bone density if your body does not get the “weight-bearing” treatment that it needs.
This will result in bones that can easily break, even with minor falls. Your bones are a growing structure in your body even after adulthood.
When your bones stop growing from childhood, they grow in increased density depending on the physical activities you do throughout the day.
By simply doing nothing you are at risk for more fractures, especially in your legs (which are the most affected by inactivity).
Immobility can lead to deteriorated joints
This is a BIG problem, especially if you are disabled. Tissue begins to deteriorate around the joints forcing the muscles to shorten and become stiff.
This can be VERY painful and not an experience that you want to have to live with throughout your life.
Prolonged bed rest can affect your lungs and blood
Yes, even if you are not a smoker, bed rest and inactivity can affect your lungs.
When you are inactive for long periods of time fluid tends to build up around the lungs because the inactive muscles are not working to remove the excess fluid from your body.
This can lead to shortness of breath, lack of oxygen to the brain and muscles, and poor blood flow.
Bedsores (or pressure sores) can develop from prolonged inactivity
Bedsores are not a happy thing to live with. Did you know that bedsores are a type of skin ulcer?
Bedsores happen when you apply pressure to the skin for a prolonged period of time. The result is that portion of skin gets insufficient blood to it which causes the bedsores.
Digestive and bowel movement problems can arise.
Yes, you can start to have serious digestive issues if you do not take the time to move.
Inactivity can lead to poor nutrition and diet. Since you are not burning energy your body does not feel as hungry.
This will lead to eating less and less which will start to really affect your nutritional diet.
In addition, your abdominal muscles are not working, so they get weaker as well. This can lead to severe constipation and food not being digested properly.
other effects may include:
- bladder problems (like kidney stones)
- disorientation and confusion
- decreased mobility
These are just a few reasons why a walk at home can do wonders for your body.
I touched base on some of the physical repercussions that inactivity can have on your body.
But there are a lot more effects that prolonged bed rest and inactivity can have on your body.
So my advice, try a walk at home program that works for you and start moving before further damage happens to your body.