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Bedridden Exercises

Depending upon your circumstances you might someday find yourself bedridden due to one of the following reasons:

  • You might be elderly.
  • You might be recovering from surgery.
  • You might have a chronic illness.
  • You might have a severe injury.
  • You might require palliative care.
  • You might have a disability.

For whatever the reason, in such circumstances you may be looking for exercises that you can do in bed so that your muscles don't atrophy and so you can remain mobile and healthy once you are no longer bedridden. Some people may also keep dumbbells or similar exercise equipment next to their bed for the purpose of exercising, but let's assume that you don't have anything like that handy.

Therefore the following list of exercises was made for people in such circumstances:

  1. Leg lifts: Lift one leg at a time, hold for a few seconds, and then lower it back down. Repeat with the other leg.
  2. Ankle circles: Rotate each ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise to promote circulation and flexibility.
  3. Knee bends: Gently bend and straighten each knee, holding for a few seconds in the bent position.
  4. Arm raises: Lift each arm slowly towards the ceiling and then lower it back down.
  5. Hand squeezes: Squeeze a soft ball or rolled-up towel (or a blanket / pillow) with your hands, hold for a few seconds, and then release.
  6. Neck stretches: Gently tilt your head to one side, hold for a few seconds, and then switch to the other side.
  7. Shoulder shrugs: Raise both shoulders towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and then relax.
  8. Abdominal contractions: Tighten your abdominal muscles as if trying to bring your belly button towards your spine, hold for a few seconds, and then relax.
  9. Deep breathing exercises: Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth.
  10. Pelvic tilts: Tighten your abdominal muscles and gently tilt your pelvis upward, hold for a few seconds, and then relax.


Obviously don't do any of the knee exercises if you have a knee injury, for example. If you know you have a problem area, skip any exercises that puts too much strain on that body part.

If any of the exercises hurt then don't do them. This isn't a "no pain, no gain" situation. It is better to err on the side of caution here.

The goal here is to improve circulation, maintain muscle strength, and prevent stiffness.

If you are concerned about any of these exercises and whether they are safe I recommend consulting a physician first and see which exercises that they agree are best suited to your situation. They may also be able to suggest a physical therapist who can provide additional exercises that are suitable.

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