Staying Mobile as You Age
Many people associate getting older with slowing down and becoming less mobile.
Loss of mobility has a knock-on effect on other areas of your health and wellbeing. It’s associated with an increased risk of falling and can make you less independent, as activities like walking, bathing, dressing, and getting in and out of bed become more difficult.
However it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a lot within your power to keep you mobile as you age.
According to a study by Harvard Medical School, exercise is key to staying mobile as you get older. In the study, a group of people aged 70-89, none of whom regularly exercised, were given an exercise program that involved daily walking plus strength and balance training. Two and a half years later, the participants were 28% less likely to have developed a disability compared to another group, who weren’t given an exercise program.
So, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, below is some guidance to help you incorporate exercise into your routine.
Aim for 2.5 Hours of Moderate Activity a Week
That’s just over 20 minutes a day of continuous activity that makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster. The type of exercise is up to you, though it’s best to pick something you enjoy and are likely to stick with.
Examples of aerobic exercise:
- Walking quickly
- Lifting dumbbells while seated
- Taking a dance class
- Using exercise bands
- Stretching and arm raises
- Cycling to the store
Add Strengthening Activities into Your Routine
These are exercises that strengthen your muscles and bones, keeping you strong, preventing bone loss, and improving your posture and balance. You should aim to do these activities two to three times a week but not on consecutive days. At Wellwise by Shoppers, we offer a range of products to help get you started with strength training, which you can find here.
- Climbing the stairs
Bone-strengthening activities :
Work on Your Balance
An important one for avoiding falls, you should aim to work on your balance every day. Before you start, make sure you have something to hold onto, as well as a soft mat on the floor.
- Single-leg stances
- Walking heel to toe
- Back leg raises
Staying Mobile Following an Injury
If you’ve recently been injured, your exercise routine will likely have to adapt while your body heals. In this case, it’s important to see your doctor or physiotherapist, who will help you with your rehabilitation. This may include helping you get moving again, regain your strength, relearn skills, or find new ways of doing things. If you’ve had an injury, continuing to follow the advice outlined above my not be appropriate so it’s best to speak with your doctor first.
Mobility and Disability
If you have a disability, chronic breathing condition, diabetes, arthritis, or are severely overweight, you may think that exercise isn’t for you. However, most people can and do benefit from staying active – it’s just a question of finding the right activity. Again, this should be done in collaboration with your doctor and exercises should be adapted to your specific disability – they may avoid certain areas of the body and may even be done sitting down.
Some people believe that losing mobility is an inevitable part of growing older, however the studies show that that’s not necessarily the case. Even if you’ve never exercised before, incorporating just 10 minutes of activity a day can preserve and improve your mobility going forward – so what are you waiting for!