Five Simple Weight Loss Strategies for People with Limited Mobility

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Weight loss has been shown to be highly effective in helping ease joint pain and improve mobility in people who struggle with issues like chronic pain and arthritis.


The problem, though, is that many people assume that, because they struggle with mobility limitations, there’s no way they can lose weight. This assumption stems primarily from the belief that vigorous exercise like running is the only thing that helps a person shed excess body fat. That’s simply not the case, though.

While exercise is good for general health and improving mobility, it’s not the only thing necessary for weight loss. There are lots of other weight loss strategies people with limited mobility can implement to help them get in better shape, minimize their pain, and improve their range of motion.

Read on for five great tips on how people with limited mobility can expedite their weight loss journey.

  1. Adjust Caloric Intake

First, it’s important to understand that, when your mobility is limited and you’re moving less, your calorie expenditure is going to decrease. As a result, the amount of food you need to consume will also decrease.

People who don’t get a lot of movement can gain weight easily if they don’t adjust their calorie intake to match their movement.

A registered dietician or doctor can help you figure out the ideal calorie intake for you based on your gender, age, size, and daily movement.

  1. Increase Protein Intake

Protein is an essential macronutrient, and many people undereat it. Protein is crucial, especially for people with disabilities and mobility limitations.

Not only does protein increase feelings of satiety, but it also is necessary for muscle repair, maintaining lean muscle mass, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

When you work with a doctor or dietician to determine your daily calorie needs, talk to them as well about your daily macronutrient needs to figure out how much protein you should be eating each day.

Good sources of protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Meat (poultry, beef, pork, etc.)
  • Fish
  • Greek yogurt
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Many of these items can be purchased pre-made in easy-to-open packages for people whose mobility limitations hinder their ability to prepare food for themselves.

  1. Find Healthy Convenience Foods

Convenience foods get a bad rep, but they’re not inherently unhealthy. There are lots of pre-made items that are great to keep on hand for times when you need a healthy meal but don’t feel up to the task of cooking.

Some good convenience options to have on hand include:

  • Dehydrated soups (they have less sodium than canned soups)
  • Smoothie mixes and protein shakes (just make sure they’re not too high in sugar)
  • Frozen meals (just check the ingredients list and sodium content)
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables for quick snacks or side dishes
  1. Drink Plenty of Water

If you don’t consume adequate amounts of water, you’re likely to become dehydrated. In addition to the various health problems that can stem from dehydration, many people also accidentally mistake thirst for hunger. This, in turn, causes them to end up overeating later on.

Aim to drink at least half your weight in ounces each day. This will help you avoid dehydration and will likely help you feel better all around. Many people find that, when they’re properly hydrated, they have more energy, better digestion, and even less pain.

  1. Find a Workout that Works for You

As you can see, there are many more components of a healthy lifestyle than just exercise. However, exercise is still beneficial for people who want to lose weight and improve their mobility.

If you are able, going for a walk is one of the best ways to start introducing more movement into your day. A walker or cane for those with limited mobility can be a great tool to incorporate if you need extra support.

If you are wheelchair-limited, you can still find ways to exercise. There are lots of seated workout options that you can utilize, including seated aerobics and seat resistance training.

Whatever workout you choose, start with just 10-15 minutes. You can always add more time later as your strength and endurance increases.

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