For walkers, the aim is to maintain and promote maximum mobility, overall range of movement, and as much independence as possible with day-to-day activities. To achieve this, it is important to work on flexibility, strength, endurance and balance. A PT or OT should discuss this, give guidance and provide appropriate training. They may advise the following ways to achieve these aims:
Stretches should be part of the exercise programme to preserve flexibility of joints, especially ankles and knees. These can be done with assistance or independently. Splints can also be used to prolong stretches and help with this. The minimum frequency for stretches is two to three times a week with the best option being three to five times a week.
Lower limb orthoses (splints) can be used to maintain flexibility, posture and function at the ankle and knee. Braces worn around the chest and spine can be used to promote posture when sitting but use is not recommended when walking.
Mobility and Exercise
Lightweight manual wheelchairs or ones with power-assisted wheels may be useful due to the tiring effort it takes to walk. Powered wheelchairs or scooters may be helpful for longer distances.
Exercise programmes that focus on strength, endurance, flexibility and balance will be beneficial. The SoC recommend aerobic exercise, swimming, walking, cycling, yoga, rowing, elliptical/cross trainers, and a type of physiotherapy that involves horse riding (hippotherapy), as good ways to take exercise.
A PT should advise you about how often and how long to exercise.