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How To Increase Mobility For Seniors

mobility for seniors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average life expectancy in the United States is 79.05 years, a 0.08% increase from 2021. 

As we are living longer, many people worry about not being able to move around as well as they age. They fear they won’t be able to continue their favorite activities, visit their favorite places, or even keep up with everyday tasks. Older adults who lose their mobility are less likely to remain living at home; have higher rates of disease, disability, hospitalization, and death.  They also have a poorer quality of life. As an individual becomes less mobile, he or she may start to avoid activities and social events, which may lead to a feeling of isolation. This can take a serious toll on one’s mental health.

It is critical for older adults to participate in activities that incorporate balance, coordination, stretching, strength training, and cardio to stay healthy. Older adults and seniors can benefit from safe and effective stretching exercises to improve flexibility and balance. 

How do you know if you have mobility issues?

Some signs you may have mobility issues are instability walking, you have a hard time getting in and out of a chair, you are not able to remain stable ending over to pc up an object, or having a difficult time going up or down the stairs.  

Can you regain mobility? 

Fortunately, you can regain mobility with diligence. There’s no need to make physical activity complicated. Living a healthier life can be as simple as taking a daily walk. If you have been immobile for some time, here are a few “start-up” suggestions. 

  • Stretching increases flexibility and, consequently, joint range of motion. You may be able to perform better in your physical activities if you have better flexibility. It has been proven that better flexibility also decreases your risk of injuries.
  • Tight muscles are full of lactic acid.  In order to remove that buildup, you can use a foam roller or a tennis ball to put pressure on areas that need work.  This not only improves lactic acid build-up, but it also allows the muscles to relax more.  This will help to improve the mobility of joints in that area.
  • Practice mindful breathing. Slow steady breathing can help relax the tension and allow more ease of movement.
  • Try some of these feel-good moves: Neck half circles, floor windmills for your thoracic spine, ankle circles, standing arm swings and shoulder pass-throughs for your rotator cuffs, hip circles and lying clam shells for your hips.

It is recommended to do strength training twice a week and yogo, pilates or some sort of mild aerobic exercise three times a week, even if for just 10 minutes a day.  Some beginner mobility exercises you can do anywhere are: 

  • Child’s Pose to Downward-Facing Dog
  • Standing or Sitting Arm Raise with Side Stretches
  • Standing Calf Raise
  • Hip Flexors
  • Lateral lunge
  • Hip Circles

Shoulder mobility is a concern for older adults. There is an increased risk of rotator cuff injuries as one gets older. The chances of a person suffering a rotator cuff tear are higher if they are over the age of 60. Having a shoulder injury can affect your ability to move and lift your arms as well as cause chronic or acute pain. In order to perform daily activities, shoulder mobility for the elderly is extremely significant.  There are many shoulder mobility exercises that can help improve the shoulder movement.

It is good to know, mobility movements help to reduce and relieve stress. At Spring Gardens in Holladay, we offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care. Our team of compassionate caregivers are trained to identify mobility issues and address them directly with the resident, their physician, and their families.

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