Many of us take being mobile for granted. It’s only when we suffer an injury that limits our mobility do we suddenly realise just how amazing it is when we have the freedom to move about with ease.
We also realise the same as we age. Our mobility somewhat reduces as we age and the likelihood of us suffering from various health conditions increases, thus also increasing the likelihood that our mobility may reduce as a result.
So, what can we do to maintain mobility as we age?
Of course, if you have a disability that causes reduced mobility or have age-related mobility issues, then don’t suffer in silence. Reduced mobility can really affect your enjoyment of life.
You can no longer get up and go like you used to, so take advantage of the amazing technology that is available from Age UK Mobility to keep you moving around your home and when out and about. Swallow your pride and make things easier for yourself!
Maintain mobility no matter what your age
Maintaining mobility isn’t just for those who already have reduced mobility or are elderly, it’s for all of us.
It’s so important we stay active and lead healthy lifestyles to do our best to safeguard our future health as well as our present health.
Too much of the time we focus on the here and now, which is great for mental wellbeing, but for our future physical health, it really does matter how we treat our bodies in our younger years.
Even Healthline share a 5-move mobility routine that everyone over 40 should be doing. You may be in your 20s and think 40 actually sounds old, but I’m 35 as I type this and feel like I’m accelerating to 40 as the years whizz by so quickly now.
If you’re much older than me, then my current 35 years probably sounds so young, but to younger folk I am ancient! I can feel it too! I am active and healthy, but even in my 30s, I am starting to notice I wake up stiffer than I used to and if I sit in the same position for a while, it’s hard to move out of it!
Ageing certainly affects all of us, no matter how fit and healthy we are, so how can we combat it and improve our mobility for the future?
Two of the best exercises to improve flexibility, mobility and prevent injury
Practising mobility exercises can help to reduce the likelihood of injury and also prevent the probability of achy joints and muscles; all things which are prevalent in old age and can sadly reduce our mobility.
There are two types of exercise which are great for improving mobility no matter what your age. Both yoga and Pilates are recommended to help maintain our mobility as we age. They also have many other benefits such as increased flexibility, correcting our posture, helping our balance and clearing our minds.
Both practices can be started from a young age for longer results, but they can also be started by older people too as they each have many gentle exercises that are appropriate for all ages and beginners.
Here’s what some of the experts have to say about each when it comes to mobility:
“Most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. There’s some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.” NHS
“Yoga-based exercise programs can improve mobility among people over age 60 and possibly help prevent falls by improving balance, according to a new review of existing research.” Reuters
“If you’re ready to boost your flexibility, regularly practising yoga, whether at a class or at home, may be one of the best ways to increase mobility in your muscles and joints.” Healthline
“Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.” Pilates
“Practitioners say regular Pilates can improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension.” NHS
Want something more active? CrossFit is amazing, even if you’re over 60!
According to an in-depth guide on BarBend that showcases the benefits of CrossFit for the over 60s, including statements from doctors, the benefits include longevity, physical fitness, adapting the movements to your own ability, community and even disease prevention: “Progressive strength training in the elderly is an efficient way to reduce sarcopenia and retain motor function”.
Ultimately the movements replicate those you need to perform in everyday life such as pulling movements, squats, jumping and cardio. These are mixed with weightlifting and strengthening movements and exercises to provide an all-around fitness regime known as functional fitness.
It’s also scalable, so each movement can be adapted to the person performing it, dependent on their skill level and fitness. The article says “training can enable people over the age of 60 the ability to improve their physical fitness, their ability to day-to-day activities more efficiently, and their ability to prevent disease. It can offer a supportive community that can better ensure consistency in the gym and make workouts more enjoyable.”
Why it’s important to stay active when you’re old
It’s never too late to start thinking about becoming more flexible, mobile and active whether that’s through joining CrossFit classes at your local gym, practising yoga or pilates, or whatever exercises you discover to improve your fitness, mobility and flexibility.
You shouldn’t disregard being active and healthy just because you are elderly or getting old and think you are past it!
Being active, healthy eating and exercising are so important to help you lead an enjoyable life with increased mobility and wellbeing as a result.
Age UK Mobility share some of the benefits of being active as an older person:
- “Regular activity can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, depression and dementia.
- Moving more helps your thinking skills – like problem-solving, decision-making and remembering facts and words.
- Being active can lessen aches and pains, help you stay steady on your feet and boost your mood.”
So make sure you stay active and practice some exercises that are recommended for mobility, no matter what your age!
And, if you already suffer from mobility issues then don’t limit yourself – find mobility equipment to help you be mobile and research exercises to specifically help you to get the most out of life.
Happy moving 🙂
One thought on “Tips and best exercises to maintain mobility as we age”
An older friend of mine swears by yoga! I like the look of Healthline’s routine; there are a few exercises in there that are new to me.