Losing the ability to move freely and experience independence is a big fear for a lot of people. As we age, these possibilities become a little closer to reality, and it can be difficult to know what you can do to keep your independence as time goes on.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to increase mobility as well as ways to ensure that you don’t lose it in the first place. We’re going to explore those ideas in this article, giving you some insight into things you can do to keep your mobility for as long as possible.
How to Maintain and Increase Mobility
We’ll break our discussion of improving mobility in the elderly into two parts, starting with ways that you can prevent the onset of mobility loss, followed by practical ideas on how to improve when your mobility starts to go.
We should mention that individuals with preexisting conditions or injuries that hinder their movement should talk with their physician or physical therapist about how to improve. Specific ailments require an expert’s insight in order to improve.
In terms of individuals who are experiencing the normal onset of age and mobility loss, though, the ideas below should be helpful.
Managing Your Physical Health
As a general rule, it’s important to understand that the body functions in a way that builds strength where strength is used and eliminates mass in places that aren’t used.
Our muscles atrophy and diminish when we’re laid up in bed for a few weeks, and those same muscles can grow to massive sizes if we work them out at the gym of a few years. Similarly, our cardiovascular and nervous systems are benefited when we use our bodies regularly and establish healthy lifestyles.
In other words, sitting on a recliner chair for the better part of 5 years will only do harm to your mobility as time goes on.
Let’s take a look at some potential practices you can add to your lifestyle to towards improve your mobility.
1. Daily Stretching
Establishing a well-rounded stretching routine can do absolute wonders in the long run. First, stretching allows your muscles to get woken up before their used. In a lot of cases, people who stretch regularly are more open to the idea of actually using those muscles because they feel more limber.
No one wants to work out or go for a walk if they’re feeling tight or sore. Second, stretching your muscles regularly is an excellent safeguard against injury.
If you keep your body stretched and healthy, you’ll have a wider range of movement and your muscles will be more resilient to the normal wear and tear of daily life.
2. Light Cardio
A comprehensive health routine should include stretching, some form of strength training, and cardio. Cardio is one of the best mobility exercises for the elderly. The words “strength training” and “cardio” might seem a little scary to you right now if you’re not in the habit of exercising.
That said, there are always degrees to how much effort you exert or how difficult the exercises are. In terms of cardio, the real goal is to get your heart rate to speed up to a consistent rate for around 30 minutes, at least three times a week.
Believe it or not, simply going on a light walk for half an hour counts as this exercise.
Another good thing to keep in mind is that walking regularly will help to establish your body’s ability to balance itself. As we ease into old age, our balance is one of the things that slowly diminishes. Just like everything else with the body, though, our balance can be improved if we use it regularly.
3. Strength Training
Strength training simply refers to a practice wherein you use your muscles in a repetitive way, typically with additional weight or resistance.
That could mean that you’re using dumbells to work your biceps or you’re working with a band and doing resistance training. You can also incorporate some coordinative exercises into your routine.
Practices like yoga can help to establish and reinforce hand-eye coordination, as well as your general sense of coordination and balance. Again, you don’t have to be drenched in sweat when you finish your workout.
If your goal is to maintain and increase mobility, what matters is that you show up regularly and are focused on the exercises while they’re happening. Sure, it’s best to have good form and work hard, but your body will absolutely benefit from these practices over time.
Methods to Improve Lost Mobility
If you’re starting to notice that your mobility is waning over time, now is the moment to start curbing that process.
Small losses in mobility that you notice may be improved by some of the ideas listed above. Stretches, exercises, and different physical practices should definitely have an effect on how your muscles progress. You may notice that specific muscles are having trouble, and it’s important to target those muscles in your exercises.
If you think that the process has gotten a little further along than you’d like, it’s smart to consult with a physical therapist. There are a lot of options for you to explore. Sites like AwesomePhysioTherapy.com are excellent places to learn more and start combatting the loss of mobility.
Another thing to keep in mind is that mobility and independence are closely tied. If you think that your mobility has gotten to the state where you might find yourself suddenly without the ability to walk, you could be in danger.
In those situations, it’s crucial that you start consulting with your doctor. While the general practices listed in this article are beneficial, your physician will have more specific ideas on how to improve your particular loss of mobility.
Want to Learn More?
Finding ways to increase mobility is crucial as you move along in life. There are a whole lot of other parts of life that require similar attention and exploration. We’re here to help.
Explore our site for more insight into health issues that could have you worried as you age.