This is an area in which I am extremely familiar. I am exercise challenged, due to some injuries, and I know how hard it is to get and stay healthy.
Before I tell you what I do, let me stress the importance that you discuss this with your doctor before you begin. Each of us is different and what works for me may be problematic for you. You may also want to talk to a personal trainer, to minimize the chance of injuries.
Diet: If you can’t move well, this is going to be a major factor in your weekly fitness routine. You’ll want it to be balanced, and you’ll want to watch your caloric intake. If you don’t already know how to do this, you may wish to consult a nutritionist.
There are two things to keep in mind. First, avoiding eating is not an option. This will make everything worse, as you’ll lose muscle over fat. We’ve got a hard enough time building muscle strength without that problem.
Second, don’t make a boring diet plan. There are a lot of ways to prepare low calorie foods that taste wonderful. If you go into this in denial mode, it’s going to be impossible to stick with. It’s much more important to think positively about what you can eat instead of feel miserable about what you can’t.
Gentle Exercise: I’m fortunate. I may not be the most graceful gazelle in the herd but I can still do some traditional exercises, as long as I’m careful. A half hour on a stationary bike or doing aquatic exercises work best for me.
I’m also familiar with something called “chair aerobics.” This is for people who can move their arms or legs, but don’t have the physical strength or balance to stand up. A series of arm and leg movements help to get the blood moving and to improve muscle tone.
If you have an exercise challenge, I would like to stress again the importance of a personal trainer, especially one trained to deal with the physically challenged. I’ve had trainers who didn’t have this knowledge and ended up barely able to walk for a week. Then I got one that did know what to teach. I have a much better range of motion and the pain levels have dropped significantly.
The Chewing Factor: This is a hypothesis of mine, based on something I learned about horses. Horses have an instinctive need to chew. If they don’t have enough hay or other food, they will start to eat the barn.
At the time, I was struggling with my own weight issues, which is still an ongoing battle. It occurred to me that some of the times I felt a need to eat something, it may be all in my mind, not in my stomach. I got out a piece of sugar free chewing gum, and it worked.
Getting into better physical shape doesn’t have to be a lost cause, even if you do have physical problems that get in the way. With the help of the experts mentioned above, you can do it.