Keeping active is an important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and improving your quality of life. But it’s no secret that as we age, it becomes increasingly harder to keep active and mobile. We cannot ignore how important mobility is in our later years as the less mobile we become, the more we are exposed to injury and illness. As we approach World National Arthritis Day on 12th October, we have put together our top 12 ways to improve mobility and fight the effects of rheumatic and muscular diseases in the elderly.
Don’t let your age be a determining factor!
Firstly, and most importantly, don’t let your age affect your outlook on how mobile you should be. Be sure to keep focused and motivated despite how many years you add to the equation. It can be easy in old age to fall in to the habit of restricting yourself to the same surroundings, being comfortable and unmotivated. In order to keep active, ditch the mindset that just because you’re older you are less capable - staying mobile relies on determination and a positive attitude.
Exercise to maintain strength
Being active engages muscles that need to be worked in order to stay strong and healthy. Performing regular exercise each day helps maintain your weight, aids flexibility and most importantly reduces the chances of muscle weakening. Simply walking around the block for 20 minutes would be sufficient enough to maintain a healthier lifestyle and keeping mobile. Yoga, water aerobics and light weights are also great exercises designed to improve those with limited mobility fitness.
Eat a healthy diet
To perform regular exercise, you need energy! When you eat better you feel better. Try planning your weekly meals, ditching any unwanted sugary snacks and fatty foods. Be sure to incorporate lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and protein in your diet, as it helps to build muscle and keep your body strong. Read some more tips on healthy eating with this helpful blog post from the NHS.
Tackle steps yourself instead of relying on others for help
As we grow older, it’s easy to slip into the habit of relying on others more, believing we are incapable of doing physical tasks that were once feasible. But don’t be afraid of what you can achieve- you will surprise yourself with your physical capabilities. The more active you are, the better for your health.
Realise the importance of comfortable shoes that fit
The key to learning how to improve mobility is being comfortable whilst engaging in an activity. A huge contributing factor can be down to the shoes you wear as un-supportive, thin shoes can cause discomfort and hinder your chances of keeping mobile. Invest in a pair of supportive, well lined, comfortable shoes for staying active. If you are comfortable, you will find it easier to stay on your feet for longer periods of time!
Don’t be reluctant to use walking aids
Explore the opportunity of using supportive walking aids for keeping mobile. A popular misconception of walking aids is that you will become less active using one and indicate to others that you are incapable. However, using aids help to keep you strong and active for longer. If you think you need an extra hand to walking, canes and walking sticks are the best examples of walking aids.
Improve your balance
A lack of balance can lead to falls and injuries that could further prevent you from staying as mobile as you want to be. It is therefore crucial to work on improving your balance in older age. The more stable on your feet you are the better. Trying techniques such as standing on one foot, slide leg raises and yoga can all help you to becoming more stable on your feet.
Focus on preventing falls
A fall can majorly affect your ability to keep active and stay mobile when you’re older. Unfortunately, the older we get the easier falls can lead to serious injuries. If you are unfortunate enough to break a bone, your mobility can become worse than ever before so it is important to take extra care and measures to ensure you avoid the risk of injury whilst keeping active. Browse our range of fall prevention aids to help you stay on your feet and lessen the risk of falling.
Know your boundaries
Although the most crucial method for improving mobility is pushing yourself that one step extra in terms of staying active, it is also important not to forget your limits. We aren’t superhuman in old age, know your boundaries when it comes to exercising. If a muscle begins to hurt or you’re straining yourself, stop and find a level that you’re comfortable with. Don’t risk your mobility for activities that are too difficult, if you have any queries with your exercise levels or any new exercises you want to try, check with your GP to make sure you are fit to carry them out.
Make subtle changes to your living space
Your living space is crucial to your comfort. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your home that will improve your mobility in the house. The key to improving mobility is starting slow and small and gradually building up the levels of mobility. A valuable tip is to start with improving you mobility in your house before venturing out, this could mean adding rails and ramps to help getting around for example.
Don’t disregard importance of sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential to waking up refreshed and motivated. Sleep is the body’s way of repairing from the day’s activities, and a restless night’s sleep can make you more prone to falls and slips through lack of concentration. Getting in and out of bed can also be a struggle as we get older and our range of bed mobility aids help you to stay balanced first thing in the morning and last thing at night to minimise the risk of any unsteadiness that could lead to a trip or fall.
Commit to staying active
The most significant factor to improving mobility is your mindset. If you keep committed and motivated to a healthy active lifestyle you’ll be able to manage your mobility levels. If you give in as soon as you feel fatigued and slump back into old habits your mobility will be affected and will leave you in danger of developing mobility problems such as arthritis. Keep motivated and commit to a better quality of life!