5 Exercises You Can Do While Stuck in Bed

A few weeks ago, I received a private message on my Facebook Fan page

Hayley, love what you do and your attitude. Having said that, I am on FB with a large group of folks that have debilitating and invisible illnesses. Many of us are unable to care for our most basic daily needs…

It would be soooo helpful if you could offer helpful methods of keeping the body moving and stretching in a bedfast position…. 

My new Facebook friend has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), which is sometimes referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. People with moderate cases of ME can become housebound, and in severe cases, patients can be bedbound with a very low quality of life.

Whether the cause is a debilitating illness like ME, a disability, an injury, or even a pregnancy, many people can become bedbound, which may ultimately lead to depression.

So, for my new Facebook friend, and for any of you in a similar situation, here are a few exercises you can do from your bed or right by your bed:

Head and Shoulder Circles

With a headboard or a few pillows propping you up, try loosening up the shoulders with some shoulder rolls and head circles. If possible, pick the head of one arm bone up, draw it back and then drop it back down. I like to do this every day, where I can open up my chest to allow an opening in my heart.
 
Muscle Contractions

Isometrically contract your muscles. Just by contracting your muscles such as your abdominals, buttocks, triceps, biceps and quadriceps muscles, you can get them to strengthen.
 
Light Resistance Training

If you have access to light tubing or weights (soup cans will work), tone your muscles with a little extra resistance.
 
Wall Push-Ups

Depending on the type of bed rest, you might try wall push-ups. Sit or stand facing a wall and place your hands shoulder height and shoulder distance apart on it.  Inhale as you bring your chest closer to the wall and then exhale as you push away.
 
Pelvic Tilts

These are a great way to tone your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. They will also relieve some of the tension and compression in your lumbar spine that results from a lack of activity. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor or on your bed.  

Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels and then slightly curl it up between your legs towards your pubic bone.  

Reverse and go the other way so that you feel a mini extension in your lumbar spine. It is so important to bring that natural curve back into your spine. Your lumbar may feel really tight the first time you start extending it so be gentle on yourself but keep doing it!
 
To enhance the circulation in your legs and feet, try ankle circles and leg lifts. Leg lifts can be done lying prone or on your side.  Depending on the type of bed rest you are on, they can also be done with added resistance like ankle weights.
 
These simple exercises may not feel the same as being able to get out there and going for a run or hit the slopes but isn’t the goal to simply feel good, to embrace yourself and to love your body? Whatever body you have right now? 

It’s not the destination but the path you’re on to get there.

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About the Author

Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Hayley creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to strengthen, nourish and evolve through the cycles and shifts in life. Combining cutting edge understanding in all three disciplines due to years of anatomical study and dietary theory, Hayley’s approach leverages their blended benefits and results. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening–empowering her client’s to heal not only their physical bodies, but their hearts and minds as well. Hayley studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, with David Wolfe, raw food expert and is an essential oil expert in her own right. She is a doTERRA Presidential Diamond and a Pangea Beauty Ecologist. Her insights and articles can also be found on her blog, Positively Positive, Natural Cures, Yoganonomous and Elephant Journal . She has also been featured in Pilates Style magazine, Natural Health magazine and Triathlete Magazine. She has fun running and playing in the mountains with her husband, former world-ranked triathlete, Wes Hobson and their two beautiful daughters, Makenna and Madeline. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events she's hosting and custom programs go to hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest.

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