5 Exercises You Can Do With a Cane : Do mobility limitations require you to use an assistive mobility device like a cane? Regular exercise might seem impossible when you need support to help bear your weight and stabilize you. Luckily, however, more and more fitness programs are including exercises with canes as a central component. Check out these 5 fun exercises you can do with a cane:
Cane chi is a form of tai chi that incorporates traditional characteristics of tai chi postures but with the use of a cane. Tai chi has been long been touted as an effective way to prevent falls in seniors as well as improve balance, coordination, and mental well-being.
Cane chi exercise videos can be found for free online and many senior and fitness centers offer cane chi or gentle tai chi classes as well. If you are having to use a cane following a surgical procedure, cane chi may also help drive your healing process, offering a low-impact and therapeutic exercise alternative.
Off the bat, a cane might feel like a hindrance when it comes to getting a good walk in, but it’s truly more practical to think of it has a supportive tool that helps you get out and about instead of skipping physical activity altogether. When it comes to walking for exercise, it’s important to keep in mind a few key factors:
- Create a routine – you’ll get the most benefit out of establishing a routine that gets you into the groove of walking every day
- Speed up – rely on your cane to support you as you increase your speed to a point where your heart rate goes up
- Ask a friend to join – make your regular walk a friendly affair by having a walking buddy join you
- Incorporate challenges – even with a cane you can still gradually build up the distance and incline you traverse on your walk
This self-defense technique is a great workout and helps empower older adults with different strategies for protecting themselves in the event of an attack. With the right training, you can effectively strike, jab, and hit an attacker with your cane as well as block potential blows. Being able to quickly use items on your person and at your disposal to defend yourself is key to self-defense for older adults.
Experts do recommend, however, that before implementing cane fu techniques, seniors use other non-violent self-defense strategies to thwart an attacker. That includes being cognizant of surroundings, avoiding escalating conflicts, running into a well-trafficked public space, and walking with purpose and confidence so as not to seem like an “easy target.”
Your own cane and a couple of basic resistance bands can provide a powerful workout that helps build your strength and coordination. For example, while sitting down in a chair, you can slide a resistance band under your feet on the floor and loop both ends over either end of your cane to do bicep curls.
You can also wrap a resistance band around a sturdy piece of furniture or vertical beam in your house and then loop the ends over your cane and pull back, up, and down to work more arm, chest, and back muscles.
Range of Motion Exercises
Stretching with your cane is a great way to mobilize and loosen joints and muscles in your arms, shoulders, neck, back, and core.
- Sitting down with your feet flat on the ground or standing, hold your cane horizontally out in front of you with both hands grasping it roughly shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms up into the air and back behind your head until you feel a good stretch.
- Lying face down (place a towel under your forehead to keep your face off the ground), hold the cane horizontally in both hands and then lift your arms backward until you feel a stretch.
- Standing with the cane behind your back and your hands holding either side, bend your elbows and life the cane up as far as you can towards your waistline.
Before You Start
If you plan on exercising with your cane, it’s important that you talk to your doctor first and make sure that your mobility equipment is in good, working condition. The last thing you want to do is rely on your cane during a long walk only to have it break or fail on you halfway along.
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How to Walk with a Cane Correctly – Ask Doctor Jo
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Exercise with Walking Cane – Tai Chi Style – suitable for small practice space
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5 Exercises You Can Do With a Cane