There is no better way to celebrate National Physical Health Month than by moving and expending some energy. Being physically active is an important part of staying healthy. Finding the right exercise for you, be it walking, cycling, swimming, or stretching, helps improve both mental and physical health. For some, this is easier said than done.
Those suffering from chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Lyme Disease may not be able to take part in such demanding activities. This makes it difficult to find ways to engage in safe and substantial exercise.
As an alternative to possibly damaging activities that may cause overexertion, one can take part in exercises that provide health benefits while maintaining their safe position in bed. The following 9 exercises can be completed in the security of one’s own bedroom, allowing for chronic disease sufferers to stay physically active.
Begin by establishing a push-up position while resting on your forearms with elbows placed directly under your shoulders and hands pointing foreword. This provides additional stability to offset the softer surface of the bed. Place your weight on your toes and forearms and push the rest of your body upwards while maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels. Be sure to activate your abdominals to help keep yourself stable. Hold the upward position for 20 seconds, or for as long as you can maintain stability, and then rest for 30 seconds. Try to complete three full reps.
If this does not provide enough of a challenge, try stepping one foot out and then back in (alternating each foot) while in the upright position.
2) Sit-Ups and Crunches
Start this exercise by lying flat on your back with knees at a 45-degree angle and feet planted on the mattress. With arms at your side or crossed over your chest, contract your stomach muscles to bring your chest up towards your knees. After getting your shoulder blades off the bed, slowly lower your upper body back into the resting position. Try to complete three sets of 10-30 reps depending on your fitness level.
3) Pilates Side-Kicks
Commence this exercise by lying on one side, keeping your body as straight as possible. With legs resting one on top of the other, raise the top leg up into the air while keeping it in line with the rest of your body. After reaching its highest point, slowly lower the active leg to just above the resting leg. Maintain this position for ten seconds then raise the active leg back up to its apex.
After completing 10-15 elevations, keep your leg in a position slightly raised above your resting leg. Rotate your extended leg in small clockwise circles 10 times then rotate it 10 times counter clockwise. After completing this routine on one side shift your positioning and repeat the exercise while lying on the other side.
4) Back Extension with Rotation
To begin, lay on your stomach and face downwards with your hands, palms down, beneath your forehead. Commence motion by raising your head, shoulders, and chest off your mattress while rotating the upper body to one side. This should result in you looking towards a wall. Hold for a second on two then return to the resting position and repeat on the opposite side. Complete this motion 6 times on each side.
5) Arabesque Leg Lifts
Start by resting on your hands and knees with your shoulders directly above and in line with your wrists. In a similar fashion, your hips should be located above your knees. Action begins by pointing one foot outwards and then slowly and smoothly extending your knee and leg out to your side. The motion is like a slow-motion kick. Once your leg has reached full extension, bend the knee and return the leg to the resting position. Slowly repeat this motion multiple times for 30 seconds on one side. After a short rest period complete the cycle for 30 seconds on the other side.
6) Russian Twists
Begin by grabbing a small pillow and sitting upright on your bed. Knees should be at a 45-degree angle with heels planted on the bed and toes pointed up. Hold the pillow out in front of your chest then twist your upper body so that your outside hand can touch the mattress. Return to the starting position then twist to the opposite side. Complete the motion 15 times to each side.
7) Scissor Legs
Begin by laying on your back with your hands tucked under your hips with palms facing down. Raise both legs into the air, as close to 90-degrees as possible, and extend your toes so they are pointing directly at the ceiling. While maintaining control, activate your abdominals and slowly lower one of your legs. Just before touching the bed, bring the leg back up into the upward-pointing position. Repeat this action on the opposite leg. Complete repetitions as suits your fitness level.
8) Table Tops
Start by sitting upright on your bed with legs extended forward and arms resting at your side. Bring your knees up and bend them at a 90-Degree angle so your feet are planted directly under them. Activate by straightening your elbows and placing your weight on your hands and feet while smoothly lifting your hips up. Like a plank, you should create a straight line with your body from your thighs through your torso. This will give you the appearance of a table. While in this position, contract your glutes. Hold the upward position for 20 seconds, or for as long as possible, and then rest for 30 seconds. Try to complete three full reps.
This movement is best done near the end of your routine. While lying face down on your stomach, bring your hands forward and pointed ahead so they are resting under your shoulders. During the next movement, maintain neck extension. After fully exhaling, press your hands against the bed to slowly raise your upper body off the mattress. Your pelvis and hips should be pressed into the bed. Hold this upright position for 15 to 30 seconds while maintaining steady breathing.
It is usually wise to end one’s workout with stretches, like cobra, that reduce the likelihood of injury. Properly stretching improves flexibility and can help reduce muscle aches and pain.
Regardless if one is an avid exerciser or just starting out, these exercises can help chronic disease sufferers stay fit without leaving their bed. With these tools at one’s disposal they can join in celebrating National Physical Health Month no matter where they are.