The buzz words for senior citizens today are “active aging”. Active aging means that we remain active and strong in our later years to prevent the loss of mobility. Loss of mobility in seniors can drastically change their lifestyle and some may never recover. But, a daily health plan that includes healthy diet and exercises designed to keep joints moving and the mind sharp can help us stay mobile. Far into our senior years. How’s that for an incentive?
Elderly mobility problems can quickly become a mobility disability. It will affect more than getting around. This can drastically alter the emotional state of the person. People that lose their mobility are more likely to become depressed. If the depression becomes long term it can be tough to overcome and lead to many other issues. There are many things elderly people will endure as they get older. Once mobility problems escalate into a full blown mobility disability there is seldom a reversal. But don’t that keep you from trying.
Seniors and the elderly slowly lose the ability control many facets of their life. They often have their drivers license taken away which is a big deal. It may because of reaction time, vision problems or even Alzheimer’s disease. Just not being able to drive and go where and when they like cuts down on their activity.
Some form of exercise and a flexiblity routine should be a priority for everyone. Including the healthy elderly population. Keeping active is a major factor to overall healthy aging. It makes life better for the individual and much easier on those that take care of them. The less strength, flexibility and mobility a person has the more likely they are to become injured. Elderly people that are injured are at high risk of being injured again. Even before the have a chance to recover and fully heal from the first injury.
As we age, we lose flexibility, muscle and bone – and our strength may falter. These losses may mean that we also lose mobility and independence and become fragile. At risk for falls and fractures, plus other diseases associated with aging. But, don’t be discouraged about those disheartening facts of getting older.
Regular exercise – emphasize regular – such as strength training (weights), flexibility (stretching), aerobics (for cardio health) and balance can greatly reduce your risk for mobility loss. Even if you already have a certain amount of mobility loss or health problems. There are things you can do to improve your well-being and your fitness level.
Older adults can exercise the rear, lower back and thighs by performing chair squats. By holding on to the back of a sturdy chair and squatting. Then they can steady themselves as they get back up using the chair as support. Put another chair behind them so if they can’t get back up they can sit down. If they are strong enough they can squat down until the touch the seat. Having a chair in front to hold onto for stability and another chair they can squat into will provide some safety.
Standing leg curls can be performed by curling your leg to the back while standing. Raise one leg at a time to the side to strengthen your legs and thighs. Stand on your tip-toes to improve strength and build muscles in your calves, ankles and feet. Do these exercises in several repetitions 3 or 4 days per week.
If you’re new to exercise, begin slowly and build your endurance by exercising on a regular basis. If you’re unsure about how to start or which exercises you can do without causing harm to your body. You may want to consult a physical therapist or a fitness trainer. Let Them provide the appropriate exercise guidelines for your level of fitness.
Cardiovascular exercises, like swimming, rapid walking or jogging, might be beyond your ability at the present time. Rather than spending 30 minutes or an hour at a time at these strenuous exercises, try breaking them up into several 10 minute periods. Even a five minute walk around the house or down the street is better than nothing and can really make a difference.
Just realize that the absolute minimum of aerobic activity to keep you fit and reduce the risk of mobility loss is 30 minutes per day, five days a week. You also need to work strength training into your schedule. The advantage that strength training adds to your overall fitness plan is amazing. You’ll increase muscle mass, become more stable when you stand or walk and simply be more able to perform daily chores.
The goal you should have in mind when you exercise is to increase your mobility and strength. To become fit rather than frail. If you haven’t exercised is a while start out just doing a little. Just because you’re strong enough to do more don’t push it.
Remember if you do too much too fast after a few days of exercising you may feel like you did too much too soon. Don’t totally exhaust yourself starting out. Save some for the next workout. Let your body get adjust and get accustomed to your exercise routine before you add more to it.
Your body will respond to exercise regardless of your age. My father was able to build muscle and improve in his 90’s. Exercise is a way you can push back the aging process and remain young both in mind and body.
What looks to you like a mobility problem may in fact be a vision problem. If the person looks at the floor immediately in front of their feet with their head bent down. Vision may be a problem. Walking like this may also affect balance.
Proper nutrition is just a important as mobility. Nutrition of the best form you can afford without causing financial hardship. Do the best you can with what you have. If you can grow your own berries, fruit and vegetables start doing it. Buy organic whenever you can to increase nutrition and avoid pesticides. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of avoiding pesticides. Use 100% plant based vitamin and mineral supplements they work the best. Get a juicer and make your own fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
Even healthy seniors sometimes refuse to tell you they are having a problem with something. Even if you ask them. You may have to be a detective and go by what you see rather than what they tell you. If you are taking care of an elderly family member, take note of all their normal manerisms, reactions, likes, dislikes and movements.
If you know what is normal it will be easy to detect a change. If a problem is detected check it out immediately before it becomes serious. Everything is much easier to treat if it is treated when it first starts. If in doubt check it out.