You’ve already invested in a mobility device to help you stay active, and you want to use it regularly to get exercise and boost your stamina. But you are also aware of being smart about how you use your energy. Here are some tips for how to maximize your active time with your rollator:
Plan your route and stop sooner than you need to
You wouldn’t run a marathon before completing a 5K walk, so think about the rollator walking equivalent. What distance can you comfortably go without running out of breath, energy, or even enthusiasm? Start slow and steady, even if the first trip is just down to the end of your driveway and back. Increase your distance gradually. Check in with yourself along the way and if you’re doing too much, cut back. You might even ask your doctor to weigh. Also think about the terrain you will travel through, maybe avoiding hilly pathways to start with.
Take frequent breaks
By the time most people take breaks, it’s because they really need to. Avoid exhaustion by taking breaks before that. Pull off to the side (benches are good places because they are already designated areas), and find yourself an interesting rest spot where you can people-watch or just check your phone.
Bring water and a snack
Sometimes when we feel tired it’s really that we’re hungry or thirsty. Be sure to pack a bottle of water and a snack. Wearing comfortable shoes and clothing can also optimize your body for the walk.
Watch your stride
Having the support of a mobility device can sometimes make us overly confident. Experiment with what pace is right for you, whether smaller steps are more comfortable, or whether you’d like to stretch a bit further. Also adjust on different terrain: smaller steps going uphill and longer going down. While you’re at it, check the settings on your device (adjustable handle heights, for example) to make sure they fit you (your arms should be bent at the elbow). Do a more comprehensive tune-up quarterly to ensure that elements like brakes and wheels are working properly and not adding any drag to your movement.
Know your best times of day
Everyone’s energy levels are different, so why not exercise during the most energetic part of your day? For some people, that’s first thing in the morning. For others, an afternoon of restlessness or second wind may work better. Again, this is another place for experimentation, so see what times work for you and even try to make it a routine!
With the right planning, you can make a rollator walk part of your regular routine, and not only improve your fitness but reap the mental health benefits of getting out into the fresh air.