by Jane Chitty
Whether you use them inside or out, rocking chairs are a great way of exercising without too much effort, especially for those who have limited mobility. Rocking provides a way to tone the leg muscles of those who cannot tolerate weight-bearing exercise, bringing a safe activity to people who might live an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Forget about all those high tech gadgets when an old fashioned rocking chair (which may even already be in your home) can do the job.
Those health benefits from rocking!
1. Rocking works the muscles and the tendons of the thighs, the lower legs and even the ankles, helping to keep you fitter.
2. As little as 10 minutes of rocking per day can reduce your blood pressure and improve your circulation. A few minutes longer, even more benefits.
3. Rocking can reduce the impact of diseases such as arthritis. This is because the increased blood flow sends more oxygen to the joints while the relaxation effect boosts the immune system. Just a minimum of one hour per day lulls the into a natural rhythm that is believed to speed healing while the physical operating increases muscle tone and flexibility around the knees.
4. Recently undergone surgery? Rocking promotes healing as those who rock seem to have fewer complications and recover faster than patients on a more traditional recovery program.
5. Rocking causes the release of endorphins that elevates the mood and relieves pain plus rocking can even lead to some weight loss as you burn 150 calories per hour with this form of exercise.
6. Rocking causes a reduction in the anxiety and depression often present in the elderly. But rocking is a relaxing activity for all age groups and you can even do it while watching TV!
7. Worried about your sense of balance? The motion of rocking stimulates the body to maintain the momentum, resulting in greater balance capabilities. This can be especially useful in older people who often fear the risk of injury by falling.
8. Rocking in a rocking chair is recommended as the perfect exercise to stimulate the circulatory system and the leg muscles. This is especially helpful for those who are elderly or housebound and are unable to do other forms of exercise.
9. Rocking chairs have become invaluable in those nursing homes caring for residents with dementia. A study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia found that “there were improvements in depression/anxiety and reductions in PRN pain medication significantly related to amount of rocking.” Those residents that enjoyed the program and wanted to continue rocking past the six weeks of the study “demonstrated significant improvements in balance as measured by center of gravity.” Useful for those taking care of someone at home with mid-stage dementia as they are often the most difficult to calm. At this mid-stage, sadly they are losing their faculties at a noticeable rate but are still aware of what is happening leading to fear, anger and anxiety. The act of rocking leads to a calming and relaxing effect to reduce anxiety as well as pain.
10. The rocking chair combined with some basic exercises can help relieve chronic back pain partically because of the relaxation it affords but also the flexibility and strengthening the act of rocking can bring to the muscles. The late JF Kennedy frequently used his rocking chair to help ease his chronic back problems.
You are probably most familiar with the classic wooden rocking chair that perhaps you saw your grandparent enjoying while sitting on the porch. But now there is a style to suit every taste and every décor in a variety of colors and materials.
You can find the perfect rocking chair for your comfort, exercise and general well being. No excuses!