How to Maintain Mobility and Independence as You Age
How does staying mobile affect you as you age? We’ve all heard the adage “age is nothing but a number,”and as you age, it becomes evident that remaining mobile is a major factor in maintaining your independence. Below are a few tips to help get you started!
1. Walk, and walk some more! Walking is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to stay active. Don’t have time to go for a walk? Incorporate it into your day! You can make a trip to the grocery store an activity by parking a little farther away from the front entrance so you have to walk a longer distance.
2. Partner up! Motivation is a key ingredient in remaining active and having someone to accompany you on a walk can be very motivating! Phone a friend who wants to stay active and plan walks together.
3. Get a hobby! Did you know that knitting works certain muscles in your hands that can increase your hand dexterity? Find a hobby and stick with it! Staying active should be fun, and you should be actively doing what you like to do.
4. Take the stairs. Going up/down stairs uses different muscles than what you would use for walking on flat surfaces. If you are at a store that has elevators and stairs, take the stairs for 1-2 flights, then head for the elevator. Mix it up!
5. Keep your head up! Literally! Keeping your head down can ruin your posture which can lead to a slower walking pace, a shorter stride, and consequently, an increased risk of falling. If you tend to walk with your eyes looking at the floor instead of what’s in front of you, make a conscious effort to catch – and correct – yourself.
Remember, staying active and being mobile is a conscious decision. It’s never too late to start exercising, and staying active doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner! Try a few (or all) of these tips throughout the course of your day and find out what works for you.
Varsha Parasram is a doctor of physical therapy with the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery.