Want to Improve Your Mobility as You Age?
It’s no secret that obesity rates continue to climb and it’s no secret that as we age our activity level drops off significantly. This combination can result in your mobility decreasing as you age. Once your mobility is to a point where you can’t take care of yourself then you can lose your independence. But how can you improve your mobility as you age? Is it possible to improve it no matter the age?
Improve your mobility as you age
The simple answer is yes, with time and determination!
In today’s “quick fix” society we expect everything to happen right now (or even yesterday) but this isn’t the case with your health. It can be a prolonged experience but incredibly gratify and fulfilling. And it’s never over. It’s a continual process to better your life and yourself. Check out these 4 ways – while they may seem like common sense, they are underutilized – to improve your mobility as you age.
This is where it all begins – walking. Simply walking can greatly improve your mobility and overall health. It’s a great way to go from completely immobile to mobile with time and effort. While it might take assistance (more on that later) with concerted effort, it can pay off.
Why is walking so good? For one, it improves your heart and cardio strength while improving the strength of your lower body. On top of that, it’s an essential first step (no pun intended) towards burning calories and losing weight.
Try this: Grab a friend and walk for 30 minutes non-stop once a day.
One cause of immobility can be the lack of stretching in your routine. Super-tight muscles like hamstrings or hip flexors can cause many simple movements to be painful. In fact, this can cause severe lower back pain that can put you out of the game.
Basically, we can end up with muscle imbalances which can affect mobility. Light stretching 2 times a day can be a great way to start “limbering” up. One key is to lightly stretch your muscles (don’t yank on them) over the course of time until you start improving your flexibility. For many of us that sit all day, stretching our hamstrings and hip flexors is a great start.
Try this: Start by stretching 2 times a day.
While not the Holy Grail to eternal youth, strength training might be a close second! 🙂 Strength training has the ability to improve your overall life and mobility in a number of ways. From increasing your bone strength to muscle strength to heart health, it can help you continue to live your life the way you want to and it doesn’t require hours in the gym…
One of the best ways to get started with strength training is to start with 2-3 full body weight training sessions per week that are composed of 4-5 exercises that hit your entire body. Start with light weights as you build strength. Take your time, don’t rush, concentrate on form, and slowly progress.
Try this: Implement at least 2 full-body strength training workouts per week.
If your mobility has degraded significantly, physical therapy might be needed. Physical therapy can be a great way to improve your mobility to a point (potentially) where you can literally get back on your feet and moving around.
To that point, no matter your age, it’s best to make your surroundings as helpful as possible for you to get around. This could be walk-in baths for older people, simply keeping your hallway clean of clutter, or putting the proper mats down on the bathroom floor. These simple improvements and hazard removals can make your overall life better and easier.
Try this: Know your body and know when you need extra help. Then go get it!
Obviously, if you have severe mobility limitations, you should seek professional help such as your doctor or a physical therapist. Aside from that, the first 3 steps listed above can be a great way to improve your mobility and life at any age. Start slow and build up your exercise capacity and overall health. Time and effort will pay off.
It’s amazing what a few extra minutes of exercise can do a week to improve your life!