Healthy Weight Management Tips For People With Limited Mobility

Maintaining a healthy weight contributes to overall health and the reduction of risk factors associated with chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, using wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids can present unique struggles for those trying to lose weight. A PubMed Central article about people with mobility-related disabilities explains how they face a high prevalence of obesity due to several barriers to effective weight management, such as the difficulty with food shopping and meal preparation and the lack of accessible facilities for healthcare and physical activity.

While there are existing interventions that seek to eliminate these barriers, people with limited mobility can also manage their weight through the following tips. These tips incorporate the use of technology for inclusivity, accessibility, and support.

Try out inclusive exercises
People whose mobility is limited due to disease, disability, or injury tend to expend fewer calories in physical activity not only because of the inaccessibility of exercise spaces. Some also fear risking their safety and limited energy, while others have experienced pain and discomfort after trying out an exercise. However, an article on Healthline discusses how exercise can be made more inclusive for all needs and abilities through adaptive yoga.

Adaptive yoga is usually taught in smaller settings so that the poses can be carefully tailored to an individual’s specific form and range of motion. It also modifies the traditional poses through props; individuals can lean on a stack of blankets for support when doing the downward-facing dog pose, for example. Since in-person offerings can be limited depending on where you live, instructors also teach and facilitate adaptive yoga sessions online. This can also help alleviate the reluctance adults with limited mobility may feel when exercising in public spaces.

Follow a healthy diet through mobile apps
Regular physical activity must go hand in hand with a healthy and well-balanced diet. Determining the combination and amount of nutrients you need for every meal can be tedious, but WeightWatchers shows that weight loss programs can be customized to a person’s fitness goals and nutritional needs without having to go to a weight-loss clinic. Rather than promising quick and easy results just like diet fads, the WeightWatchers app works towards building healthy and sustainable eating habits by providing a meal plan with specific foods and portion sizes.

Even if reduced mobility doesn’t prevent you from cooking your own food, it can still be hard to eat a balanced diet when various factors hinder you from accessing healthy foods and ingredients—including transportation and grocery stores that aren’t accessible to people who use mobility aids. In this case, apps like Instacart offer a wide array of fresh and healthy options while also delivering the groceries straight to your doorstep and at your chosen convenience.

Tap into your support networks
Managing your weight is as much psychological as it is physical, so it is vital to garner support from your close networks. As mentioned in a previous article entitled ‘Food — So Much More Than Nutrition’, making meals a social activity can improve the retention and sustainability of healthy eating habits. Family and friends can thus be a reliable source of support during the weight management journey by offering to shop for groceries, prepare food, and share meals with you.

Doctors can also extend their professional help in suggesting which type of exercises would be appropriate for patients. Lastly, the circles for social support and assistance can be expanded by looking for online forums where you can exchange health advice and experiences with fellow adults who face mobility challenges. More often than not, weight loss apps have a built-in community feature to make this process easier. More information and resources on accessibility and inclusivity are available on the Canadian Abilities Foundation’s website.

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