As healthcare providers across the globe understand the best ways to keep patients fit and healthy, one fact has emerged that can drastically improve your health as you age — staying mobile.
How age affects the body
As we get older, our bodies change. Every bodily system is affected as we age, but there are ways to help keep your body moving the way it was designed to do. Keeping your body active improves your overall health and wellness.
With age, your joints, muscles, bones and tendons undergo changes. Keeping yourself mobile helps mitigate these changes so you can to continue to be active.
Ways to stay mobile
The days of running a marathon may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you must be sedentary. Those who stay active live longer and healthier lives. Here’s some ways to stay active as you age.
- Use an activity tracker – Something as simple as a pedometer to track your steps is great way to see how active you really are. Not all exercise has to be done in one long session — taking short, simple walks a few times a day can be just as effective as one long workout.
- Do something you enjoy – Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. You don’t have to go to a gym to be active — a few simple stretches or a non-impact activity like yoga or tai chi can do wonders for your flexibility. Invite a friend or family member to join you so that you can socialize as well. Love to walk? Try hiking with a friend to get closer to nature.
- Dance! – While your tap-dancing days may be done, playing your favorite music and dancing along keeps up your strength and flexibility. It’s also a fun way to sneak in some cardio.
- Practice your balance – As we age, we struggle with strength and balance. Many injuries are caused by falls due to the changes in balance and strength. Use a sturdy chair or even a wall to practice your balance. Place your hand on your chair or wall and practice lifting one foot off the ground for a few seconds.
You are what you eat
Nutrition plays a big part staying mobile as you age. Your bones, muscles, joints and tendons need the right nutrients to work at an optimum level.
Your healthcare provider can help you decide what is best for your body. A few general tips include:
- Get enough calcium – As we age, our bones become weaker, making fractures and breaks more common. Making sure you have adequate calcium in your diet or through supplements lessens the chance of injury.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential. While you can get vitamin D from the sun, include it in your diet as well. Good sources include fish — such as salmon or tuna, eggs and milk. Vitamin D supplements are also available.
- Stop smoking – While not nutritionally based, smoking brings harmful chemicals into your body just as if you were eating them. Quitting tobaccos is the No. 1 way to improve your health.
- Limit alcohol and soft drinks – The occasional cocktail will not significantly affect your mobility, but limiting your alcohol intake is a way to improve your health and mobility. Drinking plenty of water is a must at any age. Replacing sugary drinks such as energy drinks and soft drinks with water increases your mobility.
Learn more about exercise for seniors here. Visit Tanner's calendar of events for exercise opportunities such as tai chi, smoking cessation classes and more.