6 Tips to Improve Mobility in Seniors

seniors need exercise

As seniors age it is common for them to experience a loss mobility.  This is the main reason for many seniors living less active lifestyles. When you’re used to walking around your entire life unaided, learning to walk with a walker, cane or even using a wheelchair is a struggle.

The world is harder for people with less mobility to get around but, thankfully laws are making it a little easier for the elderly as more areas are required to have accessibility features.

The good news is that there are exercises you can do to increase your mobility. Exercising regularly will allow you to walk with greater ease, feel more stable and be more confident.

6 Tips to Improve Your Mobility

1.      Start or Maintain an Active Lifestyle

Lounging around on the couch all day won’t help you build muscle. It’s pertinent that you maintain an active lifestyle – or start transitioning into an active lifestyle now. Being active engages your muscles, helps you maintain your weight and will also help with flexibility.

Starting can be difficult for some, but it’s a lot easier than it sounds:

  • Join a senior group
  • Meet people on meetup.com
  • Take walks around the park or neighborhood

Any activity is better than staying immobile. If you can walk around the block for twenty minutes a day, you’re well on your way to maintaining an active lifestyle and improving your mobility.

2.      Use the Proper Walking Aid

Walking unassisted is great, but if your balance is impaired, the worst thing you can do is not walk with a walking aid. Use a walking aid that offers maximum mobility while working all your muscles properly.

If you need just a cane to walk, please don’t use a walker.

Why?

If you use a walking aid that offers too much assistance, this will cause you to use less of your muscles and rely on the walking aid too much. This is not a good way to remain mobile. Click here to find the right walking aid for your needs.

3.      Work on Your Balance

One of the key most important things a person can do to maintain mobility is to work on balance. Why? A lack of proper balance can lead to slips and falls – something no elderly person wants.

A fall can set you back months, and if you break a hip or leg in the process, your mobility can end up worse than ever before.

Proper balance is the key to your mobility, and this balance comes from your:

  • Core muscles
  • Back
  • Butt
  • Hips

NIHSeniorHealth has a list of exercises geared towards seniors that are balance-oriented. A few of the exercises recommended are:

  • Standing on One Foot: You can stand on one foot to improve your balance. This should be done in a safe environment, and whenever possible, stand next to a wall or bed you can use to brace yourself when you fall off balance.
  • Side Leg Raises: Holding onto a sturdy surface, lift your leg sideways using just your hip muscles. This is an exercise that should be done on both legs.
  • Back Leg Raises: Much like the side leg raises, back leg raises are done next to a surface you’re safe against. Lift your leg backwards, keeping the knee straight to engage the glutes.

Gentle Yoga is also becoming popular with seniors. It is fun, and gets you to move parts of your body you don’t normally use on a day-to-day basis.

If you work on your balance, you’ll be well on your way to improving your mobility.

4.      Maintain a Healthy Weight, or Start Dieting

Are you overweight? If so, your body needs to work in overdrive to be able to function properly. Added weight puts exponential weight on to your knees when you take a step or go down a step, and this is one of the most complained about pains for an elderly person.

You need to ensure you’re a healthy weight if you want to be mobile.

A few tips to losing and maintaining weight are:

  • Track what you eat – Apps and even a journal can be used to track what you eat.
  • Ditch the soft drinks – Water will keep you hydrated, eliminate headaches and has zero calories.
  • Let go of junk food – All junk food must go (candy, sweets, processed food, etc.).

If you don’t know what body weight you ought to be, it’s time to talk to a nutritionist. A professional can help you determine your ideal body weight and provide you with a solid diet to stay healthy and keep the pounds off.

5.      Engage in Strength Training

Contrary to popular belief, you can still gain muscle into your old age – if you’ve never weight trained before. There is a genetic limit, or so it seems, to how strong some people get. This may be a plateau, of course.

And while someone that has strength trained their whole life may not be able to gain more muscle, if you haven’t strength trained seriously, you can gain muscle and strength to help you regain your mobility.

You’re a senior, so you want to take it nice and slow.

A personal trainer that deals with senior strength training is best. You’ll likely be in the gym 3 – 4 times a week, and this will be more than enough time to be able to build strength, lose fat and regain your balance.

6.      Discuss Your Health with a Doctor

I wasn’t going to put this tip in here, but it’s vital to your health and well-being. A doctor will update you on your health. You may have a health condition that doesn’t permit you to be active, and if you do, it’s important to know what your limitations are before moving forward.

You’ll also want to discuss your mobility with your medical professional.

Ask him or her which exercises or activities they recommend that you do to better your mobility.

And if possible, ask if the doctor recommends going to a physical therapist or personal trainer. Oftentimes, your doctor will be able to recommend a highly trained professional to provide you with the help and guidance you need to improve your mobility.

Whenever you engage in an activity, make sure you put safety first so that you don’t injure yourself. Injuries for seniors can impede any progress made on mobility and can cause a serious loss of mobility, depending on the severity of the injury.

10 Health Benefits of Walking for Seniors – Staying Strong and Fit

health benefits of walking

People are spending more time indoors. While walking around a city center may be common in some countries, people in the United States are walking much less. The lack of movement is a major issue for the current generation of seniors.

Walking may not seem as beneficial as other cardiovascular exercises like, running, biking or swimming, but there are a lot of health benefits to walking regularly. Especially for seniors.

should seniors be trying to walk more often?

We strongly believe so. Here are some reasons why:

1. Walking Can Stop Bone Mass Loss

Bone mass loss can lead to bones that break faster and more easily. Older people that are at risk of osteoporosis should be walking in an attempt to maintain their bone mass into old age. Hip fractures, a common occurrence in seniors, was reduced by 40% by walking just 30 minutes per day, according to one study.

2. Walking Strengthens Muscles

A major complaint that follows aging is that a person isn’t able to maintain their muscle mass going into old age. The loss of muscle mass is natural, and it begins occurring in your 30’s and 40’s, but these losses can be offset or stopped with regular exercise.

Walking has been shown to strengthen the:

  • Legs
  • Abdominals

Stronger muscles lead to better overall mobility, and they also alleviate pressure put on the joints, which can worsen the effects of arthritis.

3. Improved Circulation

Circulation problems do occur when you age. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and a variety of other health-related issues. The University of Tennessee found that walking improves circulation, offering the following benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less risk of heart disease

Poor circulation can further lead to swelling and water retention among many other issues. Studies find that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure by nearly 11 points on average.

4. Weight Loss

Weight gain is detrimental to a senior’s mobility. Walking increases the metabolism and helps to burn excess calories. Just 30 minutes of walking per day can lead to an additional 200 calories burned per session.

This can lead to weight loss and an easier time maintaining weight.

5. Sleep Improvement

Seniors, or anyone for that matter, that have issues with sleeping the night through will find that walking can greatly help improve their sleep. Studies have shown that people between the ages of 50 and 73 that took one hour walks found that their insomnia was greatly relieved.

This has a lot to do with the physical exertion of walking.

Anyone that has issues sleeping at night will want to go for a long walk during the day. Exercise of any kind before bed is not recommended because it has been shown to make sleeping more difficult initially.

6. Mental Sharpness is Increased

The mental sharpness of a senior is very important for self-esteem and confidence. The University of California conducted a study on walking and the slowing of mental decline. The study included 6,000 women who were aged 65 and older.

Women who walked more often were found to have less memory decline than their non-walking counterparts.

Women who walked an average of 2.5 miles per day were able to lower their mental decline to 17%, rather than 25% for women who walked less than 0.5 miles per week.

Studies have also been conducted on the lowering of Alzheimer’s risks and walking. Men between the age of 71 and 93 were found to have a lower risk (roughly 50% less risk) of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia if they walked just a quarter mile per day.

Your brain needs walking to stay young and vibrant.

7. Joint Support

Walking as opposed to running is good for the joints. When you walk, you’re engaging in a low-impact exercise that promotes joint health. What many people don’t know is that the cartilage in the body, or in the joints, doesn’t have a direct line of blow flow that enters it.

Blood is vital to the transport of nutrients.

Nutrition is supplied to the joints through synovial fluid that is circulated as a person moves around. This can also be called joint fluid.

Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your cartilage as you walk, increasing necessary fluid to the joints.

If you don’t move around, the fluid in the cartilage will be lacking, essentially starving the cartilage in the process. This will result in an increased speed of cartilage deterioration in the body.

8. Walking Makes You Happier

Depression plagues a lot of people as they age. When seniors lose some of their mobility, they may even become depressed. Happiness and walking have been linked together. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, will help your body release endorphins.

These endorphins are what make you happy and also increase your mental stability.

9. Increased Balance and Stability

Slips and falls are common among the elderly. This is often caused from a lack of hip strength and a loss in overall balance. Walking engages the hips, abdominals and numerous other muscles that work together to ensure that a person is able to stay balanced.

Walking alleviates slips and falls and helps boost stability and balance.

10. Walking Increases Lifespan

Seniors who want to live a happy, long and healthy life will find that walking has been shown to reduce the risk of death. A study conducted on people that exercise regularly in their 50’s and 60’s found that these individuals were 35% less likely to die over an eight-year period than their counterparts.

Final Thoughts

Walking just 30 minutes a day is recommended for seniors and people of all ages. A brisk walk can help you lead a happier, healthy life well into old age. It is very important as you get older to stay active. Maintaining your muscle mass and flexibility goes a long way in keeping you healthy and independent. It will also greatly reduce the need for a walker or other type or walking aid. However, if you do find that you are needing some support when you are getting around you may need a mobility aid. To see what we recommend please click the following link: https://www.upliftingmobility.com/walkers-for-seniors/.