Mobility and independence decrease with age.
No surprising revelation there.
People often take their mobility for granted.
They walk up and down stairs in their homes and workplaces with little thought given to how their bodies allow them to perform such functions.
In many instances, people are not grateful for their ability to independently move until it is threatened or lost.
According to a recent Livestrong article titled “Why Your Mobility Worsens As You Age, and What to Do About It,” there are certain steps people can take to prolong their mobility.
What are these recommended steps?
Unfortunately, physical activity is relatively uncommon.
According to a 2018 study of about 2 million individuals in The Lancet Global Health, about 27.5 percent of people throughout the world do not get enough physical activity.
In this study, enough physical activity was considered to be at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
Do you have to run a marathon to reap health benefits for your mobility?
Simply start including a good walk sometime during your day.
If 30 minutes is a stretch right now, start small and make it a goal.
Track your progress and treat yourself to a celebration when you reach that goal.
Then, set another.
When your day does not allow for a full 30 minutes of exercise, simply do what you can to keep the momentum goal.
Do not miss a day, if you can at all help it.
Change Up Your Exercises.
Most people prefer specific forms of exercise.
Although this is can certainly help in motivating physical activity, it is important to incorporate a mix of exercises in your workout routine.
You should do different workouts throughout a week.
You can then repeat these exercises each week.
Combing activities like cycle, running, strength training, and yoga improve joint mobility through allowing your joints to move in a variety of ways.
This is that “cross training” you likely have heard about.
My eldest twin and her husband are DPTs (Doctors of Physical Therapy) and they say “motion is lotion” to keep your joints healthy and happy.
Nevertheless, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”: “Ya got to know your limitations.”
Take Standing Breaks.
Desk jobs can be brutal for joint mobility.
Try standing up at your desk or walking around for five minutes every hour.
Some “wearables” can even be set to remind (or even pester) you into moving around after a set period of inactivity.
Even if you have completed a workout already, it is important to make a point of standing throughout the day.
This simple movement activates thousands of muscular contractions and engages large skeletal muscles.
You can minimize mobility loss and combat chronic stiffness through stretching your calves, hips, shoulders, and spine.
Whether you use static or dynamic stretching, your joints will benefit.
Although you should challenge yourself when stretching, you should not stretch to the point of pain because this can injure joints.
By incorporating these activities into your daily schedule, you can improve your mobility as you age.
And today is as good as any to get started.
Reference: Livestrong (Jan. 20, 2022) “Why Your Mobility Worsens As You Age, and What to Do About It”