Summertime is walking weather – here’s how to make the most of it for rollator/walker users!
As those with rollators or walkers know, having that extra support provides the freedom to start or continue walking with confidence, and reap all the rewards of daily exercise. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your walk with a rollator.
1. Before you go – adjust your rollator/walker and get prepared
Your rollator or walker is your best support, so make sure that it is adjusted to fit you! Check that the handles are at a comfortable height, test the brakes to make sure they are working well, and make any adjustments needed before you start off so you’re as comfortable as you can be. Test out multiple positions as well; for instance, test a sitting posture to make sure the backstrap is at a comfortable angle.
Don’t forget to take along what you may need for your walk: a bottle of water, any emergency medication, clothing suited for the weather. If you don’t already have them, consider investing in accessories that can help your rollator or walker work even harder for you – a basket is usually included, but a cup holder and cane holder can be handy attachments.
2. Start with great posture
As you set off, start with your best posture. Keep your head up, avoid hunching your shoulders, engage your core. Make sure you’re feeling balanced and stable, gripping the handles loosely, with your fingers on the brake levers. As you prepare to move, make sure that most of your weight is still in your legs and that you’re using the rollator mostly for balance without leaning too much.
Since it’s easy to tense up as you’re moving, try to remember to remind yourself to keep monitoring your shoulders and other elements that can tire you out. You may find it helpful to reset your posture every time you take a break or reach an intersection.
3. Keep your eyes out as you walk
Just like anyone walking, it’s important for those using rollators or walkers to keep your eyes on the long, middle and short distance. Prepare for what’s ahead by scanning the environment you’re wheeling into, the next intersection or stop sign, or upcoming changes in the terrain.
In the middle distance, keep an eye out for other walkers, runners, silly bikers that don’t know they shouldn’t be on the sidewalk, and others. Making eye contact, slowing your pace, or moving over if needed can help to safely share the sidewalk.
In the short distance, keep an eye out for rocks or other elements that can tip your ride. Watch out for dog poop (there are scooper laws, but sometimes…)
4. Take breaks when needed
Setting a destination can be a great way to build your own motivation for your walk. But don’t let you’re your excitement to reach the park or the grocery store keep you from taking breaks. The best approach is to take a break before you need one. Pull over to the side where you’re out of the way, and don’t forget to lock your brake before you sit on your rollator chair. As you sit, be aware of distributing your weight evenly on the rollator so you don’t tip over.
5. Accept help when offered and ask when not
As a user of a rollator or walker, you may experience the nicer side of human nature, with people being considerate to hold a door open for you or make space for you on the sidewalk. If they don’t, ask for help – they may be distracted and most people will want to be nice enough to answer your request.
Creating a regular walking habit can be a great way to build up stamina and improve your mood. You don’t have to go far to see the benefits, and summer is the perfect time to start making walking a regular part of your week.