Drive Cares

move it or lose it!

Like many 74-year-olds, Francine couldn’t get around like she used to.  It wasn’t that she was in poor health, or had any serious or debilitating medical issues.  Francine had just gotten older, and so had her muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and bones …  all the parts that keep us moving.  Francine had never really been into exercising.  She’d played golf with her husband from time to time, and took the occasional walk.  But she’d never belonged to a gym or participated in any really demanding activities, like tennis or jogging.  As a child, she’d never even had a bicycle.

Overcoming obstacles:  You may find yourself facing emotional obstacles to exercise as well as physical obstacles if you haven’t exercised in a long time, or if you never exercised before.   Many people feel self-conscious about their bodies or discouraged by having to start over after an illness or injury.  Seniors may be afraid of falling or otherwise injuring themselves.  Try to focus on enjoying the exercise as much as possible, instead of on mobility, health, or medical issues.  Don’t be discouraged if it seems very difficult at first.  It takes about a month to develop a new habit, and it will get easier if you stick with it. <

Her body knew what it was missing, and as she got older even her regular activities, like golf and walks, became more demanding.  Gradually, so did essential movements, like bending and reaching.  Her husband became concerned when she tripped over her fireplace mantel and fell. Her doctor told her that it was a classic case of “use it or lose it,” and recommended that she start a safe and simple exercise regimen to increase her mobility, flexibility, and balance.  Francine didn’t want to “lose it,” but she didn’t know the first thing about regular exercise, and couldn’t imagine how to get started.

Francine was originally concerned about exercising in front of other people, as she would have to do with other moderate exercises like swimming or yoga.  With an exercise peddler, she was able to start out exercising at home, without a large piece of equipment taking over her space.  She was even able to sit in her favorite chair and peddle.  The anti-slip rubber pads prevent sliding, ensuring Francine’s safety, and protecting her wood floor from scratches.

Staying Motivated:  Exercise at your own pace, and set manageable goals. Accomplishing even the smallest fitness goals at first will help you gain confidence and keep you motivated.  Affirm your commitment to your goals by writing them down and keeping them someplace visible, and by making regular “exercise appointments” that you write down and keep as you would a medical appointment.  It’s easier to stay motivated if you’re having fun, so choose activities you enjoy, exercise with a partner, watch TV or listen to music while you exercise.  Celebrate and reward your goals as you reach them.

Francine scheduled her exercise sessions with an exercise peddler around her favorite half-hour daytime talk show, and blocked out the time in her daily planner.  The peddler was very quiet, and she didn’t have to strain to hear her program over the sound of the device. Francine’s model of exercise peddler features a five-function display, which indicates exercise time, revolution count, revolutions per minute, and calories burned. This helped Francine keep track of her pace, and to notice her progress. She started with the adjustable resistance at the lowest setting, and was soon turning it up higher. The half-hours became hours, and Francine alternated sessions with her arms and her legs, improving her muscle tone, range of motion, and circulation. 

Because she was committed to being, as she called it, “a young senior,” Francine didn’t miss a day of exercise.  Her exercise peddler was light and portable, so she was able to bring it with her on visits to friends and family.  Everyone supported her success and cheered her on as she became more stable and energetic.

Within a few months, her doctor gave her an excellent report, telling Francine she’d taken years off her gait and posture with the gentle, low impact exercise.  As both a reward and a new challenge, Francine and her husband celebrated with a golf vacation.  Francine played every day, and credits Drive’s exercise peddler with, “getting her blood moving again.”

Her doctor recommended cardiovascular and flexibility exercise, and suggested an exercise peddler as an easy way to get both.

With some guidance, Francine followed these steps to start using it:

Safety: Getting medical clearance from a doctor, physical therapist, or other health care professional, is always the first step in starting any exercise routine.  They can advise you about appropriate activities for your mobility level or medical situation.  Always stay hydrated, listen to your body, and stop exercising if you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, lightheaded, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, or clammy hands.  If, like Francine, your mobility has become somewhat limited, start slowly and gradually increase the activity level.