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Lifestyle • Mar 18, 2024

The Importance of Mobility for Aging Adults

The Importance of Mobility for Aging Adults

Aging in and of itself can be a difficult process. Time takes its eventual toll on our physical and mental well being, regardless of how much we fight it.

Furthermore, tasks that used to be considered relatively mundane or simple, have suddenly become difficult or even impossible to accomplish. This can be a frustrating and even embarrassing fact of life for seniors struggling with mobility issues, yet it is an extremely common reality for the vast majority of aging adults. For many, the ability to walk and move freely can be the penultimate determining factor in their ability to continue to live independently, outside of an assisted living facility.

However, despite concerns, aging does not have to be something to fear! While nobody can escape the sands of time itself, there are a wide variety of actions senior individuals can take to combat loss of mobility as we age.

Before we discuss some of these tips and tricks to combat loss of mobility as we age, let’s break down the significance of maintaining mobility later in life. Just why is it so important?

Why Maintaining Mobility is Significant as We Age

As we mentioned, many senior individuals struggle with mobility issues as they continue to age. So what are the implications of this universal truth?

1. Potential Injuries

While this portion of the article can be hard to read for some, it’s a harsh reality that we must accept. As we age, our bodies gradually lose strength and mobility if not intentionally and dutifully maintained. This loss of mobility makes senior individuals much more susceptible to slips, trips, and falls despite our best efforts. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 36 million falls are reported each year involving individuals 65 or older. Of these 36 million falls, nearly 1 in 5 resulted in an injury, with just over 32,000 resulting in an eventual fatality.

2. Loss of Independence

    As we age, our ability to move around freely becomes increasingly vital to our daily lives and overall independence. Mobility isn't just about getting from point A to point B; it's about maintaining a sense of autonomy and engaging with the world around us. When we lose mobility, whether due to aging-related issues like joint stiffness, muscle weakness, or chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, our daily routines and independence can take a significant hit.

    Imagine not being able to walk to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea or take a stroll around the neighborhood to catch some fresh air. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store, visiting friends or family, or attending social gatherings become daunting challenges rather than enjoyable activities. This loss of mobility can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and dependence on others for assistance.

    Moreover, the impact of decreased mobility extends beyond physical limitations. It can also affect mental well-being and emotional health. Feeling confined to a limited space or unable to engage in activities that once brought joy can lead to depression and a diminished quality of life. The loss of independence that accompanies decreased mobility can be particularly distressing for individuals who have always prided themselves on their self-sufficiency.

    Additionally, mobility plays a crucial role in maintaining social connections and participating in community life. Being able to move around freely allows older adults to engage in meaningful interactions with others, whether it's attending social events, volunteering, or simply going for a walk with friends. When mobility is compromised, individuals may withdraw from social activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

    3. Impact on Overall Health

      While accidents and injuries are certainly a concern, maintaining mobility can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health as well.

      With impaired mobility comes an inherent decline in physical activity. Likewise, a decline in physical activity can further exacerbate already existing mobility issues as strength, stamina, and balance begin to decline.

      Additionally , lack of physical activity has been associated with a host of various health related issues including low bone density, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, several forms of cancer, and even cognitive ability.

      There are certainly many more than 3 ways loss of mobility can impact an individual’s life. However we felt these three chosen categories best represented just how serious an impairment to your mobility can become.

      With that being said, let’s take a look at some ways to help avoid such impairment.

      Top 5 Exercises for Aging Adults to Help Maintain Mobility

      Now that you’re aware of just how important maintaining mobility is as we age, let’s take a look at some tips to help combat loss of mobility. Keep in mind, take your personal physical limitations in mind as you consider which activities to consider.

      You may find some activities/exercises to be too difficult for your particular limitations, even if at first, so go with something that you enjoy and are likely to stick with!

      1. Walking

        You know what they say, you can’t beat the classics. While walking may seem like a fairly simple suggestion, it’s simply a tried and true method of maintaining mobility as we age.

        According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), healthy senior individuals should shoot for around 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day for optimal health benefits.

        2. Yoga

          Yoga is like gentle stretching mixed with balance exercises.

          It can help loosen up your joints, making it easier to move around without feeling stiff. Plus, it's super relaxing and can help calm your mind, which can make you feel more mobile and flexible overall.

          In addition, attending a yoga class is an excellent way to get some social interaction and continue to make new friends later in life. Going about getting in your exercise for the day in a social setting also inherently increases accountability, meaning you're much more likely to stick to a consistent program.

          3. Gardening

            While this may be a little less conventional way of increasing mobility, setting up and maintaining a garden can be an effective way to help prevent impaired mobility.

            Granted, it may not be as strenuous as running a marathon, but can be an excellent daily activity to help relieve some stress and accomplish a meaningful goal. Additionally, all of the bending and physical requirements to maintain a garden make it a viable substitute for a more traditional mobility workout for days when you’re just not quite feeling 100%.

            4. Weight Training

              If able, it never hurts to add a bit of weight to your routine. Weight training, or strength training, involves using resistance to build muscle strength and endurance.

              For seniors, incorporating weight training into their routine can help counteract age-related muscle loss and maintain overall strength, which is essential for supporting mobility and performing daily tasks. Strong muscles provide better support for joints and bones, reducing the risk of injury and falls. Additionally, weight training can improve balance and coordination, further enhancing mobility and stability.

              Again, much like yoga, attending a strength training class or setting up an in-home training program is a great way to get some social interaction and hold yourself accountable for your workouts.

              5. Basic Stretching

                Stretching is like giving your muscles a little love. It helps them stay loose and flexible, so you can move more freely without feeling tight or uncomfortable. Doing some simple stretches every day can make a big difference in how mobile and agile you feel.

                For best results, throw in a brief daily stretching session in combination with any of the aforementioned activities, and you’ll soon begin to see a vast difference in how you move, look, and even feel in general.

                Find Your New Hobby to Combat Impaired Mobility

                While these activities are a great place to start for seniors looking to avoid any impairment to mobility, this is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means.

                There are thousands of new and exciting ways to keep your body moving and healthy, each with their own respective benefits.

                Don’t limit yourself, try new things, and be adventurous. It’s never too late to start a new activity, and you may just find your new favorite hobby that you’ve been missing out on your entire life. After all, there’s no time like the present!

                Final Word: In-Home Training for Seniors Looking to Improve Mobility

                Dealing with our changing bodies as we age can be tough, but it doesn’t have to signify the end of your autonomy. Accordingly, maintaining mobility as we age is a vital key to remaining happy, healthy, and independent as we grow older in life.

                Using these tips, we hope to inspire you to try a few new activities to help improve your mobility today. After all, the goal is to remain mobile, happy, and healthy for as long as possible, and again there is no better time to begin than today!

                While some seniors may find these tips sufficient to begin their own mobility improvement regiment, many may prefer a bit of assistance. For those individuals who are finding themselves struggling to maintain their mobility, have a little trouble sticking to a consistent routine, or simply need a partner with the skillset and knowledge to begin their senior fitness journey, we’ve got you covered too!

                At Svetness in-home personal training, we believe not having the time, resources, or knowledge shouldn’t stop you from achieving your fitness goals at any age. Our highly qualified personal trainers will meet with you in the comfort of your own home, workplace, or even your favorite hangout to break a sweat, all at your convenience. We strive to help you achieve your fitness goals, and with a certified nutritionist on staff, we provide you with all of the tools to do just that.

                With trainers in nearly 30 states, we’re always just a call or email away. Book a free consultation with Svetness In-Home Training today, and let us help you get started on your lifelong fitness journey!

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