We all want to still be on our feet, socializing with friends and family, getting to the places we want and enjoying a wonderful quality of life. The secret? Movement… keep muscles in motion. Embrace your age and do everything possible to stay upright. Here are some tips for staying mobile as a senior.
Use It or Lose It!
This sentiment is important for those approaching or in their Senior years. As we age our bodies metabolize at a slower rate. Depending on lifestyle, many activities affect mobility.
Arthritis, especially in the lower back, knees and hips is a major source of pain. Sedentary lifestyles and obesity compound the aches. The solution is to keep bodies in action!
Although it may seem counter-intuitive in some situations, remain in motion unless otherwise instructed by your health care provider. Consider being active, a social and fun activity.
Mobility may be one of the last things on your to-do list if you are not feeling well but moving your body is beneficial. Start with simple movements such as stretching.
Your doctor may encourage taking short walks several times a day to address chronic back pain. Listen to the advice. A few short minutes or laps around your home may be enough to ease discomforts and keep muscles flexible.
Keep reminding yourself movement is essential. Start at a comfortable level and then try to do a bit extra each day. You may only take two or three steps more than the day before but remember each step is progress.
Take a Hint from Your Furry Friends
Have you noticed how dogs and cats do a full body stretch after napping? Take note and follow their example. Stretching is a simple and effective way to move. Tight muscles often cause pain and the less they have used the better the opportunity to tighten or seize. Decreased mobility results from muscle fibers shortening from lack of use.
In the morning slowly stretch arms and legs before rising. Be sure each arm and leg are stretched as far as possible. Extend feet out straight and flex. Align your spine from the base of the skull down to your tailbone. Full body stretches first thing in the morning relieve stiffness, feel good and start the fluids moving in your body.
Do stretches throughout the day, especially if sitting for long periods of time. You may become engrossed in a hobby, reading or working on the computer but remember to get up and move every 20-25 minutes. Set a timer if necessary.
Hydrotherapy is great for people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle, and joint issues. Research locations for pools…fitness centers, sports complexes, the YMCA or YWCA, even hotels who allow non-guests to use their pools for a small fee. Water aerobics places less stress on the joints as does simply walking back and forth in the pool.
Many people resist using a cane or walker thinking they look old or feeling it unnecessary. The alternatives, however, are dismal… walking only short distances or without assistance and risking a fall. A cane or walker should be used if necessary, to move safely.
Motion helps prevent aches and pains from progressing, encourages a healthy life, produces better sleep patterns and increases a positive outlook. Everyone needs to be in motion. Remember staying mobile as a senior is important to the overall quality of life.
Bridge to Better Living provides guidance, resources, and consultations to those who are considering a transition to a Senior Living Community. Contact Bridge to Better Living for information about your options for Independent, Assisted Living, Memory Assisted or Long-Term Care. A call to Bridge to Better Living or scheduling a consultation is a “move” in the right direction.