As we get older, it becomes more common to experience problems with mobility. Whether due to illness, injury or other factors, even gentle exercises can start to feel daunting.
However, proper mobility is key to maintaining independence and living a healthy and active lifestyle. Older people with mobility issues are more likely to fall and face other serious health problems.
If you are struggling with mobility or getting around like you used to, here we provide practical guidance on some gentle physical activity and exercise that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
Why mobility matters
Aches and pains and increasing mobility issues make falls more common as we get older. While most falls don’t lead to serious injury, they can be distressing and may lead to reduced independence. Improving mobility and enjoying regular exercise are vital to reduce the risk of falling and keep older people living independently for longer.
Physical fitness is important for all ages, but it is especially beneficial for older people. As we age, our muscle strength, flexibility and balance begin to decline. This can lead to dangerous falls or other physical problems, like muscle weakness and joint pain. Keeping active can reduce these risks while improving strength, balance, posture and coordination.
For older adults, improving mobility can also lead to more independence. Flexibility, balance and coordination can make day-to-day tasks like walking, cooking or bathing easier. Regular exercise can also increase energy levels, reduce joint and muscle pain and increase life expectancy.
What causes mobility issues?
There are many factors that can lead to reduced mobility. Older age, a lack of physical activity, illness or chronic conditions, weight gain and anxiety or low mood can all contribute to a person being less mobile.
If you are having problems with mobility, start by speaking to your GP They can help rule out any underlying causes for your mobility problems. They can also refer you to specialists who can help you regain mobility such as physiotherapists or occupational therapists.
Exercises to improve mobility in the older generation
Yoga or Tai Chi
Yoga and Tai Chi are wonderful, low-impact forms of exercise with a number of physical and mental benefits. Both yoga and Tha Chi help cultivate a mind-body connection and improve strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Yoga and Tai Chi are also mindful sports that can help you relax and feel less stressed.
If you are not comfortable with the traditional up and down movements of yoga, you can try chair yoga. You will enjoy all the benefits of traditional yoga without having to get down on the floor or lay on a mat.
Flexibility is important for maintaining independence and mobility. Stretching can yield many health benefits for older people ranging from injury prevention to improved balance. Be sure to include stretches that target the shoulders, back, hips and legs as those are the body parts that commonly contribute to balance and gait problems in older people.
Walking is a simple, free and low-impact exercise that’s appropriate for any age. Walking at a brisk pace can help you build stamina, lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health. You do not have to walk for hours. Start slow and incorporate a brisk 10-minute walk into your day. As your endurance improves, you can increase your pace or distance gradually.
Walking with a group is a great way to enjoy exercise and make new friends. Listening to music or an audiobook can also help take your mind off the effort.
Whether you’re into Zumba, professional dance classes or just love moving to music around your home, dancing is a great way to enjoy some healthy movement. Dancing will not only elevate your heart rate, it will also help improve your balance and coordination. Add a partner or join a dance class to add a fun, social element.
Exercising in the water is ideal for those living with joint pain or conditions like arthritis. The buoyancy of the water makes exercise easier and lessens pressure on the joints. Water also provides some natural resistance to movement which can improve strength and cardiovascular health.
If mobility or balance problems make it hard for you to do standing exercises, seated exercises can be a safe and effective alternative. There are many accessible chair exercises that can help you improve strength, mobility and flexibility – all from the comfort of your living room. The NHS has a handy guide to help you get started.
The Ramblers charity organises group walks for people of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels. On their website, you can find a detailed list of organised local walks in towns, cities and the countryside.
Joanna Marcinekova, a UK-based exercise physiologist and personal trainer, provides a variety of free 10-minute exercise videos designed to help older adults improve their physical fitness at home.
Mobility care at home
If you are finding to move around in or out of your home, you may benefit from mobility care. Mobility care at home covers a wide range of care and support for people living with mobility difficulties due to arthritis, osteoporosis, neurological conditions, diabetes or general frailty.
At The Good Care Group, we have been helping people with mobility needs to live a fulfilled and purposeful life in the comfort of their own home for over 10 years. Our dedicated live-in care services will allow you to enjoy more independence and a better quality of life all in the place you love best, your own home.
We have a dedicated Occupational Therapist, Jackie Cooper, who provides expert advice and guidance to those who want to stay living at home with our mobility care service. Jackie will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your mobility needs and provide all the equipment for you to live safely and independently at home.
Our highly personalised mobility care at home service includes everything you need to lead your best life at home from providing discreet and sensitive personal care to companionship when you need it. Our carers are trained to manage multiple mobility concerns and we can provide double up care if you need two carers to help with complex mobility issues.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR MOBILITY CARE NEEDS
Our friendly and experienced team is here to help you and your family make sense of your options. Call us today and we will help you every step of the way.