Leading an active lifestyle is the best way to maintain mobility and flexibility, but even the most active of seniors can experience mobility issues as they age. Whether caused by injury or illness, mobility impairment can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and heighten the risk of further injury.
No matter your age, fitness level or level of mobility, there are ways to improve your range of motion and flexibility.
1. Use an Appropriate Assistive Device
Assistive devices can provide an immediate improvement in mobility, and will help you get up and moving again. From wheelchairs to walkers, canes and crutches, there are numerous devices that can help you get off the couch and back to your daily routine.
The key most important thing is to choose a device that’s appropriate for your level of mobility. A device that offers too much assistance may prevent you from regaining your mobility naturally, or significantly extend the rehabilitation process. On the other hand, a device that doesn’t offer enough assistance may make daily activities frustrating and dangerous.
Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about finding the right assistive device for your needs.
2. Exercise Regularly
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.” That saying is all too familiar to seniors, but the sentiment is quite true.
Regular exercise will help you maintain your flexibility and strength, so you can stay active and mobile well into old age.
If you have yet to establish an exercise routine, start by adding activity slowly. After talking to your doctor about your limitations, get into the habit of being active for ten minutes each day. You don’t have to run five miles on the treadmill. A simple walk around the block, chair exercises or lifting some light weights will more than suffice.
As you start to regain mobility, you can increase your exercise time and add in new activities to stay motivated.
The goal is to reach 30 minutes of exercise per day.
3. Eat Right and Get Enough Sleep
Exercise is really the key to improving mobility, but it can be difficult to stay motivated, awake and energized each day.
Eating a healthy diet and making sure that you get enough sleep can help keep your energy levels high.
When you eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods, you feel better. It’s much easier to take on that 30-minute afternoon walk when you’re feeling awake, alert and energized.
Getting enough sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet. Lack of sleep can make you prone to slips and falls that can cause injury, disability, and other mobility issues. Make sure you’re getting a restful night of sleep, and that you’re getting enough of it.
4. Supplement Your Diet
Keeping your bones and joints healthy will help you naturally maintain your mobility as you age. The right supplements can help prevent osteoporosis and maintain cartilage. While a healthy diet will provide you with bone- and joint-friendly nutrients, supplements can help bridge the gap and amplify the results.
Consider adding the following joint-friendly supplements to your diet:
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Derived from substances found naturally in cartilage, research has shown that glucosamine and chondroitin can ease pain and enhance joint mobility.
- Vitamin D and Calcium: New research suggests that these two nutrients may be equally important for healthy bones. Some studies also show that vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, an essential mineral for healthy bones. Seniors with low calcium levels are more likely to fracture bones and lose bone mass more quickly.
Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement. Certain supplements, particularly joint supplements, can interact with medications.
Exercise is the key to improving mobility, but eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and supplementing your diet with joint-friendly supplements can further improve your flexibility and range of motion. For seniors who are just getting started with their recovery, an assistive device can help put you on the fast track to leading a more independent, mobile lifestyle.