Tips to staying mobile and flexible when it’s hard to do.

As we age, our bodies change, and moving around isn’t as easy as it once was. But just because you can’t do a backflip or run a 40-yard dash in record time anymore, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying to figure out ways to keep your body active. The best way to stay mobile is to not stop in the first place. We can’t always control what happens to our bodies – genetics, emotional health and disease can change our abilities to stay mobile. It’s important that you don’t give up and keeping looking for ways that work best for you to keep you as independent as long as possible.

staying mobile while aging in place
Two Questions To Ask

Before you devise a plan on how to stay mobile, you need to figure out how mobile you already are. It’s not something that primary care physicians always test for. If yours doesn’t, then you should consider asking about it. Researchers at the University of Alabama looked at dozens of studies on mobility and discovered there are several common factors that lead to an inability to get around. Older age, low physical activity, obesity, impaired strength and balance and chronic diseases can all play a role. Less obvious factors can include depression, memory problems, a recent hospitalization, alcohol or tobacco use and even simply being female. Researchers found one or more of these can put you at risk for lower mobility.

The University of Alabama study suggests these two questions to test out mobility:

  • For health or physical reasons, do you have difficulty climbing up 10 steps or walking one-quarter mile?
  • Because of underlying health or physical reasons, have you modified the way you climb 10 steps or walk a quarter of a mile?

Researchers say what makes this test so beneficial is you don’t have to go to a doctor to answer the questions.

If climbing stairs or walking any distance is hard for you, don’t write it off and accept it. Discuss the problems with your doctor, because there are things that can be done now to slow down progression and allow you more time to age in place.

Experts recommend seniors get moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week and do major muscle group strengthening activities two or more days a week.