What causes a decrease in mobility?
Maintaining Mobility: Why It’s Important and 3 Ways to Do It – As we get older, our aptitude to move around freely and easily decreases. This is due to the fact that we tend to lose muscle mass and bone density as we age, and our joints become stiffer and weaker. A decrease in mobility can also be accelerated by a sedentary lifestyle and also the consumption of unhealthy foods. This is why it is important that we take care of our bodies in every stage of life.
While there are several things you need to watch out for as you get older, the best time to think about your mobility later in life is while you still have all or most of your mobility. However, it is never too late to recover your health, and here are some things that can be done to preserve mobility at any age.
Ways to Maintain Mobility
#1: Stay Active
One of the best ways to preserve mobility is to keep active. Joints become stiffer as we age, but not moving at all makes it worse. In your younger years, it’s important to establish a consistent exercise routine, one that you’re likely to continue (with a few adjustments) as you get older. If you’ve never really been active in the past, it’s not too hard to start becoming more active. Some humble things you can do to get active include:
- Walking to nearby destinations instead of driving
- Parking towards the back of a parking lot instead of the front
- Taking the stairs instead of an elevator/escalator
Another big part of staying active is exercising. Exercise can be something as modest as walking (which helps the joints) or doing exercises to stay fit at home, but it’s also important to focus on exercises that strengthen muscles and build bone mass. Strength-training exercises help in both of those areas, and there are even exercises that are appropriate for senior citizens to help build muscle and bone.
#2: Eat Healthy
A healthy diet seems to be the key to preventing all sorts of ailments, and loss of mobility is one of them. Again, a loss of mobility can be attributed to weakened bones, muscles, and joints, and there are nutrients out there that help with all of that.
- Calcium is known for aiding in bone health, and consuming it in small amounts throughout the day provides the most benefits. Calcium can be found in dairy products, kale, beans, and sardines, and should also be consumed with vitamin D (also found in dairy and leafy greens) to help with absorption.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids are more commonly known to help with brain and heart health, but they are also beneficial for maintaining bone density. You can find omega-3s in salmon, tuna, mackerel, chia seeds, and different types of nuts.
- Protein is known to help form muscle and it also helps with bone density. Meat is full of protein, and some plant-based options include quinoa, peas, black beans, and avocado.
- Collagen is known to be a supplement to support hair, skin, and nail health, but it’s also beneficial for joint health as well. There aren’t many food sources for collagen, so most people tend to take collagen supplements.
#3: Be Careful
Though this tip applies to everyone, it is much more essential for senior citizens. Slips and falls are very common in individuals over the age of 65 and are also more dangerous for this age group. Elderly individuals should be extremely careful to avoid falls, especially in their own homes, which happens frequently to seniors who are aging in place. Serious falls can lead to a decrease in mobility.
Why is mobility important?
Mobility is important because it allows seniors to remain independent, giving them the ability to age in place safely. Seniors with partial mobility are more likely to move into a nursing home. Nursing homes aren’t all bad, but there are cases of negligence occurring in skilled nursing facilities that result in harm or death to patients. Decreased mobility often means a decreased quality of life, causing isolation and depression.
Fortunately, all of these tips can be helpful to anyone at any stage in their life. Even seniors with limited mobility are able to engage in some exercises that can increase their strength and bone mass. Just remember to consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in a new form of exercise.