It’s a fact of life that we slow down and get more sedentary with age, but there is a lot of truth in the saying ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’, especially when it comes to mobility.
The best way to maintain mobility is to continue to move and use your skills on a daily basis. Making small choices to engage in meaningful movement activities will help you to retain your independence and help protect you against falls.
Here are some more tips on improving your mobility:
Start or maintain an active lifestyle
Starting an active lifestyle doesn’t mean you’ve got to suddenly take up running or pump it out at the gym – incorporating gentle movement every day can make a big difference. Walking is a gentle way to get started and can be easily built into your day. This can be in the form of a dedicated walk or just by looking at where you could walk instead of drive during your daily routines.
As well as enhancing mobility and balance, getting moving has a whole host of other benefits, including:
- Boosting your energy
- Reducing the impact of illness and chronic disease
- Weight management
- Reducing the impact of frailty
- Protecting your heart
- Improving mood and memory
Work on your balance
A lack of balance leads to slips and falls, so improving your balance is good way to improve your overall mobility.
Exercises to try include:
- Standing on one foot: Practice standing on one foot while standing next to a wall or bed, so you have something to hold on to when you start to wobble.
- Side leg raises: Holding onto a sturdy surface, lift your leg sideways using just your hip muscles. Remember to swap to your other leg.
- 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.
Add in some strength training
Working your muscles is a good way to gain strength that can help maintain mobility.
If you’ve never done strength training before, it’s a good idea to do it under the guidance of an exercise physiologist who can develop a program that suits your needs.
Use the proper mobility aid
If you are at the stage where you need some help to get around, it’s important to use a walking aid that offers maximum mobility while working all your muscles properly.
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 mobility aid instead. So if you just need a walking stick, it’s best not to use a walker until you actually need one.