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Practical Exercises and Tips for Overcoming Mobility Challenges

Staying mobile is one of the most important things we can do to maintain our independence and freedom to do what we love. However, for many people, injury, chronic illness, mobility condition or simply age can restrict our movement and ability to exercise and stay mobile. Fortunately, a range of practical exercises and strategies can significantly improve mobility and overall well-being. I recently had the pleasure of talking with a reader of our blog who spoke about some of the things they are doing to stay active despite an ongoing chronic medical condition. This inspired me to learn more about what options and advice are available for those who want to move more, but struggle with the practical side of doing so. In this week’s blog, we’ll look at some gentle yet effective forms of exercise to help us move with greater ease, safety and confidence.

Understanding mobility issues

Mobility issues can occur at any time in life and can be caused by a wide range of factors. Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia can make movement difficult due to discomfort and pain. Simerly neurological conditions such as ataxia or dystonia can make engaging in exercise difficult due to the lack of coordination that often comes with these conditions. Injury can also result in restricted movement when an injury doesn’t heal properly or enough time isn’t spent on recovery. These issues can significantly impact daily activities, making simple tasks like walking, bending, or reaching increasingly difficult. By recognising what factors limit our movement and how, we can start to tailor an exercise routine that targets our needs, helping to alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance our overall quality of life.

The benefits of low-impact exercise

Low-impact exercises are particularly beneficial for those facing mobility challenges. Unlike high-impact activities that can strain joints and muscles, low-impact exercises are a gentle yet effective way of improving overall physical health. These exercises can enhance flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination without putting undue stress on the body. Moreover, they can be adapted to fit individual fitness levels and mobility limitations, making them accessible to everyone. Incorporating low-impact exercises into your routine can lead to significant improvements in your mobility, allowing you to move more freely and with greater confidence.

Yoga for mobility

Yoga is one of the lowest-impact forms of exercise and offers a versatile way of exercising different muscle groups with minimal impact on the body. Through a combination of gentle stretches, mindful breathing, and relaxation techniques, yoga helps to alleviate stiffness, reduce pain, and increase the range of motion in our joints.  While yoga is known for its focus on flexibility, it also helps build strength, particularly in the core, legs, and arms. Strengthening these muscle groups can support better posture and stability, which are essential for individuals with mobility problems. Yoga can also help to alleviate stress that can occur as a result of living with chronic conditions, making it an ideal candidate for anyone looking to improve their overall well-being. 

One of the most prominent benefits of yoga is that it is versatile and can be adapted to suit your level of physical ability. Poses can be adjusted using props to make them accessible to individuals with limited mobility. Adaptive yoga is a term used for a range of yoga activities such as chair yoga, designed for those with limited mobility. These classes can range from more general classes for those with limited mobility to condition-specific yoga classes that seek to help individuals with particular requirements. So finding a form of yoga that will suit your individual requirements is easier than ever.

Tai Chi for balance and coordination

A recent set of studies found that Tai Chi can induce greater improvement in functional mobility and balance in older adults compared to conventional exercise. Tai Chi, often referred to as “moving meditation,” offers a graceful yet powerful approach to improving mobility and overall health. Rooted in ancient Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi consists of slow, flowing movements performed with focused attention and deep breathing. Tai Chi incorporates a series of shifting body weights and controlled movements, which help improve balance and stability. This can help those with limited mobility by preventing possible injuries that can occur during exercise or day-to-day life.  Despite its gentle nature, Tai Chi is an effective way to strengthen muscles, particularly in the legs and core. This can help improve mobility and stability, making everyday activities easier.

Table tennis for reflexes and breathing

Table tennis, often overlooked as a form of exercise, offers numerous benefits for improving mobility and overall fitness. Although typically a fast-paced game, a relaxed rally of table tennis requires quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination. Table tennis is a mentally stimulating activity that requires strategic thinking, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Engaging in regular games can help improve cognitive function, which may be beneficial for individuals with neurological conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  Despite its intensity, table tennis is gentle on the joints, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Regular play can help improve balance, agility, and cardiovascular health, while also providing a fun and engaging way to stay active. Typically played with two or more players table tennis can also be a great way to engage with other socially, which can reduce feeling of isolation or loneliness. 

Other forms of low-impact exercise

In addition to yoga, Tai Chi, and table tennis, there are several other forms of low-impact exercise that can contribute to improved mobility and overall well-being. Swimming and aquatic therapy, for example, offer a buoyant environment that reduces stress on the joints while providing resistance for strengthening muscles. Walking is also a simple yet effective exercise that can be tailored to individual fitness levels and incorporated into daily routines. For those with limited mobility, chair exercises offer a convenient way to stay active while seated, focusing on gentle movements to maintain flexibility and strength. Enquiring with your local gym or community centre to see what activities they may be able to provide for your personal level of mobility and fitness is a great way to get advice on what may be most suited to you.


The struggle of staying mobile through pain and discomfort is one that I know affects many of our readers, and I’m mindful that for some, getting started with mobility training can be an uphill battle. It’s important that whatever activities you choose to engage in when suffering from a chronic condition, pain or discomfort is a remarkable personal victory. It’s genuinely humbling to hear how much effort it takes to stay mobile and the inspiring amount of energy that those with chronic conditions have to put into recovery. The most important thing to take away from this blog is that if you suffer from limited mobility, you are not alone. Local exercise groups and community projects offer a range of support to help those with limited mobility to improve their health in a safe and guided environment, so look into what may be accessible in your local area. And the best of luck to everyone trying to move more, you are all truly inspiring.

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