Framercise - a low impact walker exercise for special needs, elderly
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Do you walk with a frame, also known as a walker without wheels?
Ever heard of ‘Framercise’? Framercise means exercising using a walking frame, otherwise know as a walker without wheels.
Many disabled, special needs and elderly people attend low impact exercise sessions to keep their bodies and general health in good order.
However, besides attending these worthwhile sessions, there is another way to exercise at home, in fact anywhere at all – using a simple walking frame.
With the walking frame, you can exercise the legs, knees, arms, back, neck, feet, toes, and hands, ie. almost every part of the body.
Some may like to do these movements to energizing music.
Safety first! If you choose to try these exercises, be careful - NEVER risk falling! You may want to have a solid and stable cushioned chair behind you in case you need to quickly sit back down. Don't overdo it. Don't do any exercise if or when it causes pain. Take rests whenever needed. Work up your endurance and strength for exercise over time.Before attempting these exercises, you should consult your physician to make sure they are appropriate and safe for you to perform!
Holding onto the frame swing each leg foward and back as far as you can without losing your balance. Don't risk falling!
When you feel more confident, hold the frame a little further forward this will give you a longer swing.
Now swing each leg out tothe side. You can count the number of swings you do.
Now move each knee up and down as if marching.
Then move each leg from the knee back,as though you’re trying to hit your back.
Don’t try to do them all at once.
Stand with your feet together. Go up on your toes, come down and go back on your heals – up on toes, down on heals.
Now point each foot down, then bend each foot upwards towards your leg, lifting your leg a little bit off the ground.
Some people will feel the pull as the foot stretches. If it hurts don’t do it.
Lift you knees (alternating legs) as high as you can as if marching.
See how far down you can bend your knees, but don’t strain.
Hold the front of the frame and stretch back as far as you can (go slow - be careful of your balance), then pull forward.
If you can, go forward toward the front bar.
You can repeat these stretches a few times.
NOTE: If you are able to maintain your balance holding onto your walker with just one hand, then try the following:
Holding onto the left handle of the frame, swing your right arm around in a circle at the side – not too quickly.
Now change arms.
Now swing the right arm over to the left and touch the left side of the frame.
Now the left arm to the right and touch the right side of the frame – make it like a swimming movement.
Touch the back of your neck and the hold your arm out straight at the side.
Repeat with the other arm. Keep the palm of your hand facing upwords.
This one will help tone up the arm muscles.
See how far down you can lean sideways, but be careful not to risk falling, holding the frame with one hand and stretching the arm towards the floor.
Change arms. When you bring the arm up lift the shoulder toward the side of your face, then lower.
Spread your fingers out wide, then clench them in your hands. Repeat.
Bend each finger down as if you are touching the notes on a piano.
Put one finger up at a time,while clenching the others to the hand – see if it gets harder as you try to put up the fingers, one by one.
How does the middle finger and the fourth finger respond?
Which are the easiest to put up on their own?
Flex the fingers halfway over, a bit like chaws, then straighten them.
Now flex them over one by one.
Can you extend any of your fingers back?
Make a fist and then open your hand wide. Alternate with other hand.
Lift both shoulders up toward the side of your head then lower them loosely.
Move your shoulders go in forward circles.
Now move them in backward circles.
Bend your arm and pull your elbow backwards so as to bring your shoulder blade inward toward the other – do this several times.
Now the other arm.
This time bend your arm across your chest, clench your fist, as though you were going to punch something on the other side.
Now other the other arm.
Bend your hand up towards your shoulder and bring the elbow down to touch the frame handle, push it back and bring it down again. Other arm.
Bring elbow up toward shoulder height at your side and rotate the elbow around in circles. Then the other elbow.
Move one hand around in a circle, then the other hand.
Move one wrist up, then down, then the other hand.
Shake your hand as though you are drying it, then the other hand.
Do these toe exercises one foot at a time, alternating feet.
Give your toes a good wriggle.
Now try to lift up toes, then flex your toes downward/inward.
Spread the toes out on both feet, then pull them together tightly. Repeat a few times
Straighten your back, then slump, straighten – slump.
Bend your back backwards a little, then bend forward. Repeat a few times.
Be sure to straigthen up to a upright posture, head up, chest out and shoulders back!
WAIST AND BACK
Bend from the waist side to side, as far over as you can. Be careful to avoid imbalance.
Move from your waist in a circle. Now move your waist in the opposite circular direction.
NECK AND HEAD
Move your head slowly around in a circle. Now move it around in the opposite direction. Do this slowly to avoid dizziness.
Turn your head to the right and look over your shoulder. Now move it to the left.
Now move head up, tilting head back, then down slowly, tucking chin to chest – avoid dizziness.
Now I know these exercises work for me – I’ve tried them all with my frame).
Safety first! Be careful when performing these exercise - NEVER risk falling! You may want to have a solid and stable cushioned chair behind you in case you need to quickly sit back down. Don't overdo it. Don't do any exercise if or when it causes pain. Take rests whenever needed. Work up your endurance and strength for exercise over time.
Before attempting these exercises, you should consult your physician to make sure they are appropriate and safe for you to perform!
Copyright - Margaret Houghton