When planning a move into an assisted living community, you may be worried about mobility. Right now, your mobility may be good, but if it's started to get harder to do the things you love, now's the time to start looking into ways to maintain the mobility you have.
Fortunately, there are many excellent tips that can help you stay mobile as you age, including those discussed below.
As you get older, your muscles, bones and joints are all impacted by physiological changes. These changes generally negatively impact mobility, which is why many people start to slow down as they get older. Here's what you can do to help ward off some of those issues longer.
Addressing injuries quickly is one way to help prevent mobility issues. For example, if you recently sprained your ankle, you might be off your feet for a few weeks. When you can walk again, your ankle may feel weaker, and you may not have the same mobility you did in the past.
Don't let that weakness persist. Consider going to physical therapy or doing exercises at home so you can build the muscle back up and improve strength in the joint.
Maintaining a good diet is a vital part of keeping mobility in your later years. Good nutrition as you age means getting the recommended daily amount of protein so you can maintain muscle mass. You should also focus on getting micronutrients like vitamins C and D, as well as potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Some of the ways you can improve your diet include eating more plant-based foods. Try unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Additionally, when you can, add fruits and vegetables to your meals. Balancing carbohydrates, such as bread, with protein-rich foods, such as meat, can also ensure you have fewer changes in insulin levels so you don't have major spikes or drops in blood sugar.
Remember, your diet may play a role in the likelihood of developing illnesses such as osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes, so improving it can help you avoid chronic health conditions that could hurt your mobility. Talk to your medical provider or a nutritionist to find out what diet changes might be best for you.
Another step you can take to maintain your current mobility or improve it is to start exercising regularly. You don't necessarily have to go to the gym; walking regularly or taking up jogging can help you build muscles and improve the function of your cardiovascular system. Both play a vital role in maintaining your mobility. There are also plenty of low-impact exercises you can do right in your home, such as chair yoga.
If you have the time and are willing to go to the gym, consider working on weight and resistance training to help with bone strength and muscle mass. If you can't get to a gym, use some light weights at home or hire a personal trainer once or twice a week to maintain your level of fitness. You could even ask your neighbors about playing tennis or golf, which can make staying active more fun.
If you live in an assisted living community, you may have access to exercise classes and other activities to help you stay active right in your community.
Another helpful tip is to practice stretching and balance exercises so you can stay limber. Yoga is a good example of an exercise style that's low-impact enough for people of any age but also focuses on stretching and balance. The exercises can be adapted for your current mobility level, too, which is helpful if you'd like to become more limber than you are currently.
To help improve the fascia tissue that can make you feel tight and immobile, consider adding the use of a foam roller on days when you're not planning on stretching as much. Using a foam roller improves circulation and may help you feel less tight in the area where it's used.
Finally, relax your back. Consider getting a new mattress with proper back support, or look into bed wedges or other tools to make you more comfortable at night. With good spinal alignment, it's easier to keep mobile because your body is properly aligned, with all bones, muscles and other parts appropriately supporting each other.
Along with the right mattress, consider maintaining your posture as an important part of your day. Relax your shoulders, push your shoulders back or sit up straight. Doing these small things can make a big difference in mobility over time.
As you age, your mobility may change, but it's possible to maintain the level of mobility you have now. Consider exercising regularly and eating healthy to prevent mobility issues, and address injuries as soon as you can to recover more quickly if your mobility changes. Doing these things can help improve your mobility and may help you maintain it over time.