Like gyms, yoga studios, pools, and parks, home can also be a place where we exercise.
Research appears to support the notion that our homes can be locations that we leverage to improve our health and well-being through exercise. People living with specific health conditions that negatively impact their quality of life and older adults living in the community are a few examples of populations that may benefit from home-based exercise (1-4).
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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) falls under the umbrella of cardiovascular diseases. It is a condition that causes the arteritis to narrow from plaque build-up, leading to decreased blood flow in areas of the body that are impacted (5). PAD frequently occurs in the legs (1;5). Research shows that structured home-based exercise programs can boost walking distance and physical activity levels in people with PAD in their legs (1).
Parkinson’s disease falls under the umbrella of neurological disorders. It impacts the central nervous system, resulting in issues related to balance, movement, and posture, among many others (2;6). Research shows that home-based exercise programs can enhance walking speed and balance-related activities in people with Parkinson’s by a small amount. What is more, when it comes to balance-related activities and quality of life, home-based exercise programs may be just as effective as those taking place outside of the home (2).
Urinary incontinence is a condition marked by the involuntary loss of bladder control (7;8). Research shows that pelvic floor muscle training can improve urinary incontinence in women living with various forms of the condition, and in some cases even cure it (3). On an even brighter note, these exercises can be done from the comfort of home, as one option. They require little to no equipment, and folks can lean on guidance and support from multiple sources—such as a physiotherapist or other healthcare professional that provides them with at-home exercises, and reputable instructional videos or mobile apps.
Phone calls, videogames, websites, DVDs, mobile apps, videoconferencing tools, and the list goes on. Digital technologies and the rate at which they are evolving are helping to make exercising at home easier than ever. Research shows that home-based exercise programs delivered via digital technologies can improve physical function and health-related quality of life and reduce falls in older adults living in the community (4).
Interested in exercising at home? First, consult your healthcare team to see if this strategy is appropriate for you and how to engage in it safely. Through conversation you can identify preferences, determine whether supervision or adaptations are needed, and if instructions can be provided or recommendations for additional supports made.