The Truth behind Mobility Scooters: The Affect they have on your Health.
It is reported that the number of people in the U.K that use a Scooter or Electric Wheelchair has reason to 90,000. A small percentage of that figure use mobility scooters because they don’t require tax, insurance or a driving licence so they are cheaper to run than cars. The evidence suggests that the rise in the sales of scooters is due to those with no mobility issues buying them. For those that do struggle to walk due to Arthritis, lung diseases and heart failure the motorised scooter appears to be a great aid in giving them some independence back. It is estimated that the average person with a scooter spends 4 hours a day on it and just 30 minutes a day walking. It’s fantastic that our ageing population has found a way to stay independent and get around outside of their home however what affect could a mobility scooter really be having on your health?
The Hidden Illnesses
Everyone talks about the benefits of a mobility scooter and how it can change the way you live your life but no-one ever mentions the detrimental effects it could have on your health. Falling into the habit of relying on your scooter to get out and about could mean that you have a higher risk of you becoming diabetic due to the lack of exercise you are getting. Diabetes can cause heart attacks and strokes. It’s all too easy to hop onto your scooter and go to the local shops but if it is within walking distance and you feel comfortable doing it then give it a go. There is a definitive link between the use of a mobility scooter and the decline in physical functionality.
How to stay active with mobility issues
Limited Mobility doesn’t mean you cannot exercise. It just means you have to find the best exercise to suit your needs. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins that energise our moods, relieve stress, boost self-esteem and trigger a sense of wellbeing.
Exercising in water is an ideal way to work out when you have mobility restrictions. The water acts as a cushion of support around you and at the same time it provides a resistance. You don’t even have to swim to enjoy the perks water can offer you. Just walking through the water can help strengthen your muscles and improve your stamina and cardiovascular system.
Just lifting your legs slightly whilst you are in a sitting position can help increase the muscles in your leg and help improve their strength for when you are walking. If you are feeling confident you can add small weights to your ankles or wrists to increase the resistance in your work out.
Doing stretching exercises can also help increase the strength in your limbs and help control the way you breath. Again if you have trouble standing you can try some stretching exercises from your chair. Try stretching your arms in front of you and moving them out to the side.
With any exercise it is the act of repetition that pushes you physical and you should always be in control of the pace and resistance. If you are finding a particular exercise challenging then take a break and pick up again later.
The Benefits of Staying Active
Whilst the lure of a mobility scooter is attractive and it can offer independence and a way to get to out and about. Regular exercise can also offer independence, improved stamina, strengthened joints and the reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Although a mobility scooter is cheaper than a powered wheelchair it is a cost that can be avoided with regular daily exercise.
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