Don’t let lower body limitations keep you down

What do you do when you are exercising regularly, feeling great and then lower body pain or injury stop you in your tracks?

Get creative!

Why? The biggest problem I see when someone who is exercising regularly has an injury is the sudden loss of that stress relieving, brain chemistry balancing benefit they were enjoying from regular exercise. That loss can spiral you downward not only physically but mentally too. You can find yourself feeling more anxious and depressed and less motivated for other healthy habits too.

When your lower body is limited there is still a lot you can do to keep moving. With some creativity, open-mindedness, and patience you can prevent the downward mental and physical spiral by shifting to focusing on what you can do rather than what you cant do.

Keep in mind: Your upper body is not designed for the same movements as your lower body. If your upper body is not very strong or flexible, start extra slow and progress very gradually to give your upper body time to build strength, endurance and mobility to do what you are asking it to do.

Cardiovascular Exercise in a seated position

Seated aerobics is a great option because you can do it at home and can find free and low cost options. Here are a few:

Fuzion Fitness

Paul Eugene

Even if you are not a senior, there are many senior exercise videos that could be fun to try as you recover.

Note: I do not recommend using hand weights while doing aerobics. Its not worth the risks to your shoulders!

You can purchase chair aerobics DVD or on demand videos for about $15 at Seated aerobics for Everyone

Strength in a seated position

Focus on upper body seated strength exercises incorporating your core into each movement. Exercise bands sets with a door attachment work great for this because they allow you to do all the basic exercises in a seated upright position.

There is even some evidence that exercising the leg that is not injured can help keep the other leg stronger so use what you can to keep your body strong!

Stretching in a seated position

Stretching has great new science behind it that indicate it to be one of our best anti-inflammatory types of exercise around!

That research shows you are not just stretching muscles, you are helping your connective tissues system stay fluid and function well. Those cells help your immune system and musculoskeletal system function best.

Plus, stretching while healing from an injury or pain flare up can help reduce down-stream tightness that happens when one part of your body is not functioning well. Your whole body adapts to moving when one part is not working well. That can cause tightness in other areas. Whole body stretching is one of your best resources for minimizing the ripple effect of not moving as much while you heal.

As best you can, strive to maintain a balance of strength, stamina and mobility to keep your whole body function as well as possible.

If you are a UMass Memorial Weight Center patient, our online programs give you exercise videos and resources for doing strength and stretching exercises in a seated position.

Please post your comments or suggestions below.

Keep Moving and be well, (even when your lower body is limited!)


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by | April 27, 2022 · 3:19 pm

How did your Spring Training go?

Happy Spring!

Each Fall we take a few moments here at Keep Moving to plan our Spring Training, AKA winter exercise plan. I like to call it Spring Training because I find it makes exercising through the winter more motivating. As you may have already experienced, that first nice warm Spring day is so motivating to get out and be more active. If you kept moving through the winter, especially doing the specific types of exercise for the spring activities you enjoy, your body thanked you by feeling strong and ready.

If by chance Winter was a time of hibernation, no worries! We often learn the most from not doing what we had planned on doing.

Whether your Spring Training went as planned or not, now is the time to capture what you learned so next Fall when we plan again, you are more prepared than ever to make the most of your Winter exercise plan.

Take a moment to write down your answers to these questions:

  1. What went well this Winter?
  2. What do I wish I did more of?
  3. What do I want to remember for next Winter?

Put the answers somewhere you will find them in October when we plan for our next Spring Training session.

Keep Moving, Be Well


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by | April 13, 2022 · 9:34 pm

Go for the Gold! Exercise Consistency!

The Olympics are always inspiring. Athletes pushing their limits to be the best. Those “gold medal” moments on the podium are a sweet the reward for all their hard work.

When you are exercising for sports performance, thoughts about those are the moments that keep you going. But what about when you are exercising for being healthy, losing weight or keeping it off? The gold medal moments can easily be missed, overlooked by the times you didn’t make progress or reach a goal.

Plus, athletic careers come to an end. The desire to be healthy never ends. The long road ahead can seem daunting when you don’t have those ‘gold medal moments’ to keep you going.

If there were gold medals for exercising to be healthy and well, consistency would be the ultimate challenge to overcome. Yep, I know that sounds boring. I have not seen any news headlines saying “Woman beats the odds and sticks with her exercise program through stressful times” or “Man exercises consistently through the winter months”. Stories about being a healthy exerciser isn’t the stuff of great ratings, but it is the golden key to being healthy.

We have a use it to keep it body. We live in complicated and stressful times. These two facts mean that every day you are consistent with exercise, it’s a “gold medal” moment. So treat it as such! Celebrate those small wins that only you know. The times you kept going even when the scale didn’t move. The times you chose to get up rather than hit the snooze button. The times you got creative when your kids wouldn’t nap and had a dance party with them instead of doing the video you planned on doing.

Share your ‘gold medal’ moments of consistency with exercise and I will be cheering you on every step of the way of this life long journey to Keep Moving and Be Well!


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by | February 28, 2022 · 9:53 pm

When is the best time to exercise?

We want to be sure we are getting the most from out time investment in exercise, so of course we want to time it for maximum benefits. There are a few questions we need to ask in order to answer this question though.

Best time for what exercise result?

If it is health and weight loss, consistency is the most important factor so the time you can fit it in with the greatest regularity is the best time.
Keep in mind though, that does not need to be in one time of your day. It may work better for you to split it up and do exercise in small bouts throughout your day. This approach works well if you are short on time, energy, attention span, or if you have pain limitations.

for example, you could do three sets of strength training throughout your day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. It would take you 5-10 minutes to do each set and would serve as a movement break from sitting.

If you are going to take this approach, I recommend warming up and cooling down before and after each bout. That does not have to be a long time, just light movements before and after doing anything more challenging.

What do you mean by exercise?

There are three main types of exercise; cardiovascular/ aerobic, strength and mobility (stretching, balance, etc). Each one has different immediate benefits, especially for your brain.

Cardiovascular can be a great start to your day, giving your brain focus and memory chemicals to help keep you working well.

Strength training can release tension held in muscles, so could be a great mid day or end of day type of exercise.

Stretching also releases tension in muscles so it is a wonderful way to end your day and support sleep.

So the beset time of day for exercise depends on what you want from it at different times of day. Its very flexible when you are using exercise to be healthy and well. Don’t worry about timing exercise so you burn a few more calories. That is just an estimate and not reliable enough to factor in to when is the best time of day to exercise.

Plus, the whole point of losing weight is to feel and function better right!? When you use exercise to feel and function better now you are getting what you want each step of the way.

Keep Moving, Be Well



by | February 1, 2022 · 9:58 pm

How to make this new years exercise resolution one that lasts

In the next two weeks, you will hear a lot of advice about how to make your resolutions last. How do you know what advice to follow? Starting or restarting any kind of exercise has its own unique factors to consider. Here are three questions to ask yourself so you can navigate the new year exercise start/restart well, and give yourself the best chance for success.

What is my body telling me?

Your body is your best guide for knowing what to do and how much is enough exercise. It is a huge myth that the start of exercise needs to be hard and painful. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this idea. There is a lot of motivation and exercise science to support a slow start that does not leave you sore and tired from day one. I am not telling you anything you don’t already know though. If you have ever started exercising and sufferered through the first two weeks until your body ‘got used to it’ you know what I mean. Its no fun. It slows your progress and it makes your brain resist doing it. Instead, start small and progress gradually letting your body tell you how much is enough to start.

Who is telling me what to do?

Get curious about the reason for doing an exercise. If the exercise or program was created for athletes or military professionals, it was not based on how your body is designed to function in daily life and improve health. You want exercises and programs that were made for you, not borrowed from other types of exercise! When exercises are based on the science of how your body is designed to move and to get stronger for activities of daily life, you will feel better right away. You will see clearly how each exercise you are doing will help you move better that day. Those instant results and benefits will keep your brain wanting you to continue.

How sustainable is this?

Programs designed for reasons other than health, like for athletes for military professionals do not need to consider sustainability of the exercise. Their goals are short term. Your body and brain are in a constant state of change, so your program needs to be flexible if it will be sustainable. Ridged programs designed for results in a certain number of days are set up to be short term. When you want lasting changes, there is no difference between a program to get to your goal and the program to maintain it. Listening to your body and adjusting what you do and how you do it so you feel better each time is the way to make it sustainable for both your body and your brain.

Plan to be successful with your exercise program all year long

Plan on these three key ingredients from the start:

  • listening to your body
  • doing exercise designed specifically based on the science of exercising for improved health and function
  • make it sustainable right from the start

Keep Moving, Be Well and have a very Happy New Year!


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by | December 28, 2021 · 4:39 pm