Let’s kick off with an important Active Ageing Fact:
“As you age your body becomes weaker; bones are less dense, tendons and ligaments naturally lose their elasticity, the mind loses its sharpness, balance and coordination dwindle, and your aches and pains become more prominent.”
But, the aging process doesn’t have to be like that……
……..you CAN change your future and the way you age by staying active; both physically and mentally. So join the Active Ageing Movement and halt the aging process dead in its tracks.
Science Daily experts note the key to aging gracefully is mobility of which the Medical Dictionary definition is; the ability to move in one’s environment with ease and without restriction.
Think about when you were a kid; you bounced out of bed in the morning and ran out the door to play with your friends without a care in the world. No aches, no pains, no worries about being able to run, stretch, reach and no worrying about injuries or if you can achieve some level of physical activity.
When you were young your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles were strong and supple; you were flexible and never worried about falling and breaking a leg or having trouble getting up off the ground or out of a chair.
As we are all part of an ageing population, you can choose to accept the inevitable and deal with it or you can take preventative action to strengthen your body and mind to maintain and even improve your mobility as you age. As always, the choice is yours.
50 Ways to Improve Your Mobility, Balance, Strength, Flexibility and Longevity – it’s called Active Ageing.
1. Exercise Every Day
Fitness experts suggest that just 20 minutes per day of moderate exercise will help decrease the mobility issues that go hand in hand with aging. There’s no excuse to not go for a walk, Yoga class, bike ride, swim, hike or tend to your garden. So figure out something physical you enjoy doing and get to it!
2. Strength Training
WebMD and many other reliable sources remind us that as we age our muscles naturally break down; this weakens our body and decreases balance and mobility. This process starts at around age thirty increasing as we age; it is called sarcopenia.
It can be halted and is the reason why exercise and strength training, such as weight lifting, is vital in preventing serious health issues in old age. Just 20 minutes three times a week of weight training or strength training will counter the aging process and build your body to be stronger and more agile.
Also, check out this interesting article…….it tells you all about the 6 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise for Seniors.
3. Stretching is King – do it Daily
If you snooze, you lose! I also call it “resting and rusting”. There’s no way around this one, if you don’t actively make a point of taking 5-10 minutes to work on your stretching each day, you’re ligaments will shorten and your muscles and joints will get tight. This will leave you stiff, sore and sorry……..and less mobile to boot.
Prevention is everything. Stretching on a regular basis helps you loosen your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments increasing your range of motion and strengthening your mobility. Be sure to warm up with a quick walk or even a few air squats just to get the blood flowing, before you start stretching. This will decrease your risk of injury.
The following video shows ten minutes of basic yoga for all those baby boomers who would like to to remain flexible as they age or gain some flexibility which you may have lost over the years. It is an ideal program for first time yogis.
4. Exercise While You Sit
Sitting, exercise and premature death are all closely related. Sitting for long periods of time is the modern day equivalent of smoking a packet of cigarettes a day. Even if you don’t have very good balance and already suffer from limited mobility, you can still get some exercise in. There are plenty of chair exercises you can do to help improve your mobility and overall health and wellness.
5. Your Must-do Morning Stretch
An excellent way to start your day the second you step out of your bed in the morning is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, while reaching as high as you can above your head. Then slowly reach down as far as you can towards your toes. Do this movement at least 5 times to get your body going.
6. Sign Up For a Yoga Class
Yoga is fantastic for strengthening your body and improving balance and mobility; plus you can have fun doing it at any age. Yoga is a low impact, safe and effective way to keep your body supple and agile for life.
I find Yoga is a great way to get my body ready before I go for a surf.
7. Water Aerobics or Aqua-Fit Classes are Excellent Choices
The advantage to exercising in a swimming pool is you have zero stress on your joints. In addition, the natural resistance of the water gives you both the perfect cardio and muscle building exercise. Exactly what you need to strengthen your heart, improve your balance and of course improve your strength and mobility.
8. Get a Massage
Targeted massage therapy re-mobilizes the body. By relaxing your muscles, you reduce tension and you give your muscles and ligaments more elasticity and your joints more flex or range of motion.
9. Visit a Physiotherapist
A physio can assess your body motion and posture and provide you with suggestions and exercises to help you deal with balance and mobility issues to improve and strengthen your body as a whole.
10. Do Regular Body-weight Squats
I advise all my baby boomer clients that bodyweight or air squats, when performed correctly, will increase their mobility, longevity, range of motion, and flexibility. Just make sure you have an experienced trainer show you how to perform them correctly to avoid the possibility of any injury.
Even if you have a chronic knee, hip injury or arthritis, you can do a modified supported squat that is still very beneficial. It is all about getting the joint activated little by little.
11. Go Swimming
When you swim, you’re removing the stress on your joints, lessening pain and making it easier to challenge your range of motion and mobility. Just slipping into the pool and swimming a few laps is way better than doing nothing at all.
12. Get a Personal Trainer
If you want to stay strong and healthy as you age it’s well worth your while investing in the services of a personal trainer. It just means you know they will keep you on track and they can set up a personally designed program that suits your preferences and tolerances.
You’ll never get bored and because you’ve got your trainer to answer to you will always have an inspiring measurement tool to make sure you stick with the program.
13. Have a Soak in a Hot Tub
When you heat your body, you naturally relax your muscles and joints; they become softer and less brittle. This of course eases aches, pains, and makes it easier for you to stretch and test your mobility without straining yourself. Make sure to get your doctor’s approval before using hot tubs.
14. Spend Some Time in the Sauna
Like having a hot tub, the same thing applies to the steam room or sauna. It’s also a great stress reliever particularly for sore muscles after a workout; it gives your muscles a jumpstart for repairing and gaining strength. Just make sure you don’t stay in longer than 15 minutes at a time just to be safe, and ask your doctor if saunas are safe for you.
15. Go Dancing
Dancing is fun and it gets you moving in a relaxed atmosphere. Having fun socially while you are challenging your mobility is an awesome way to decrease your age-related aches and pains and test your limitations both balance and mobility-wise.
16. Red Wine – Have a Little Tipple
I am not recommending you go out and get pie-eyed here, but plenty of studies show that having a glass of wine with dinner releases endorphins and gives you that “feel good feeling” not to mention that having a drink is usually part of a social engagement; this means it’s giving you a reason to get up off the couch and move it!
And I am sure you would like to know How to Fight Ageing by Drinking Red Wine.
17. Play with Your Kids or Grand-kids
An excellent way to have fun while getting sore and stiff joints moving is to play a game of soccer or ball with your kids or grand-kids. Kids are loaded with energy and letting some of it rub off on you is only going to help you strengthen your mobility and build your body and mind making a stronger you.
18. Reach Up For That Top Shelf
You may be hesitant to reach up for that bowl or bottle on the top shelf just because you feel some tightness when you do. Newsflash – if you don’t reach for it, you are only going to feel more pain and tightness over time.
You have to mentally challenge yourself to reach a little bit further each time in order to increase your mobility and decrease the pain associated with it. In other words it won’t go away on its own.
19. Regularly Change Up Your Exercise Program
Diversity is king when it comes to keeping your mind and body agile and alive. If you are bored, you’re much less likely to get moving and keep moving. Make a conscious decision to regularly change up your exercise routine so you are never stuck in a rut or plateau.
20. Challenge Yourself
You know your limitations and if you don’t set your thinking to always challenge yourself then you will lose your strength and mobility faster than you should. If you normally walk for 30 minutes a day try adding 5 minutes on or increasing your pace (or both). If you normally hire someone to mow your lawn, why don’t you try doing it yourself? Your only limitations are the ones you create in your own mind.
21. Record It
Seeing is believing. A natural tool of motivation and inspiration is to record all your accomplishments so you can look back on them to actually see how far you’ve come. Psychology.com experts report this is an invaluable tool in the name of health and wellness.
22. Incidental Exercise – Lift Soup Cans
What many people don’t realize is you can work on your strength and mobility by using items from around the house. When you’re in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil you can use two soup cans to do bicep curls. This is helping you gain strength and build muscle, which in turn supports improved strength, balance and mobility.
The health benefits of having more sex are truly incredible, from boosting your immune system function and energy, to strengthening your mind, improved confidence, heart health and much more.
As sex is a physical act it means when you are having sex you are indeed improving your cardiovascular function which also has to be a good thing. Maybe best to check with your doctor first if you think you are overdoing things a little!
24. Get a Dog
Experts report that seniors who own a pet have noticeably reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, increased social interaction and improved strength and mobility, not to mention the mental stimulation.
25. Join a Walking/Biking/Running/Swimming/Hiking Group
By committing to some sort of activity group, you are increasing the odds you will get more activity in your daily life. Studies show when people interconnect the social with the physical, the results are more positive and much longer lasting.
26. Volunteer at a Local Hospital/Library/Meals-on-Wheels
When you make the time to help a good cause, you naturally feel obligated to step up to the plate, rather than just sit at home and do nothing. Working as a runner at the hospital is a great way to get more exercise into you day by running errands around the hospital and taking patients to different procedures. Volunteering at the local library helps keep your brain active and meals-on-wheels is great for your social wellness.
27. Focus on Improving Your Balance
Having confidence in your ability to not tip over is ultra-critical in ensuring you don’t try to convince yourself to take the “safe” route and just stay put. That’s one of the worst moves you can make. There are all sorts of safe exercise you can practice to strengthen your balance, improve coordination and make it easier for you to get more active.
Core exercises, along with air squats, are two of the best ways to improve your posture, strength and balance.
28. Use a Walker or Cane When and/or if Necessary
If you already have mobility issues, it’s a good idea to make sure you use your walker or cane when you need it. This means you aren’t using your limitations as an excuse not to get up and move. If you need your cane to stabilize yourself while you get the mail then use it. That’s a much better choice than not going out at all!
29. Invest in a Walking Stick
There’s no doubt that the older we get the less stable we are on our feet. Therefore, if you do a lot of walking it’s always a good idea to use a walking stick just to ensure you don’t lose your balance and crash. It also provides a sense of security and peace of mind that encourages you to walk more.
30. This Helps with Aging – Lose Weight
When you lose weight, you are naturally increasing energy and decreasing the tremendous stress on your joints, especially your knees. Studies show that by losing just 5% of your body weight you will increase mobility and decrease your risk of developing serious lifestyle disease like cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
31. Be Independent – Do More Things Yourself
Here is something I come across a lot with the ageing population. The only activities you really can’t do are the ones you choose not to do. So remember this old saying; where there’s a will there’s a way. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Perhaps you have a cleaner who comes in once a week to do all your cleaning. Maybe you should try having her come once every two weeks so you can do some of the cleaning on your own? Maybe you could tend to some of the lighter jobs in the garden instead of hiring someone else to do it all for you?
Things to think about when you are looking for ways to improve your quality of life by improving your strength, balance and mobility.
32. Important: Get a Pair of Good Quality Walking Shoes
One of the worst things you can do for yourself is walk around in cheap shoes with no support. This places unnecessary stress on your joints making it uncomfortable for you to get active. Get your feet properly measured and buy the best quality pair of walking shoes you can afford. It is worth it in the end and they will last a long time. If you already have some existing issues in this area then also check to see if you need any orthopedic inserts.
33. Healthy Eating
It is easy to get lazy with your food especially if you are living by yourself. Doctors from WebMD report that eating a healthy diet full of fresh veggies and fruits, lean protein, and complex carbs will help to support optimal health, increased energy, and improved mobility so it is an area you can’t afford to let go if you want to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Another thing I see a lot and it’s what many people often don’t understand, is that the lack of fluid intake resulting in dehydration is more often prevalent in people with decreased mobility. All this does is steal your energy and your ability to move around which in turn naturally decreases your overall mobility.
Drink 6-8 glasses of water EVERY day to ensure you give your body and mind the power to improve mobility. Leave a few full glasses of water strategically placed around the house and have a sip each time you pass a glass.
Here are a couple more tricks with water; how to keep track of how much you are drinking. Get your favourite water glass and put eight rubber bands around it. Each time you finish the glass take one off.
If you have a headache, instead if reaching for the Panadol drink a full glass of water and wait for 20 minutes. Usually the headache will be gone in that amount of time as you were just dehydrated.
34. Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
If you can’t see properly then you aren’t going to be moving around too much. Have your eyes checked regularly and if you need glasses get them. This is going to remove the stress of falling or bumping into something and will give you the confidence to consciously and persistently work on your mobility.
35. Take Action to Prevent Falls
If you are a little unsteady on your feet, make sure you take action to stop an accident from happening. To start with, install some handrails around your house in strategic locations. If you need a cane or walker to inspire you to walk then get one.
Do whatever it takes to set yourself up for confident success in moving around as much as you can. Regular moderate exercise involving your core and legs is one of your best methods of prevention here.
36. Stay Positive
Age is just a number on the calendar. Research shows the power of positive thinking is all part of the healthy ageing process and is invaluable in the big picture of life. If you let your age get you depressed and feeling sorry for yourself, then you’re much less likely to focus on staying active, which prevents all possibilities of improving your strength, balance and mobility.
“Age has no limits or boundaries as to how much or what you can do or achieve. It is only your mind that puts up the roadblocks.” – John Falkinder, Active Ageing Activist and Coach – my mission is to help you pull down the roadblocks.
37. Challenge Yourself but it’s OK to Acknowledge Your Limitations
It’s always good to push yourself outside of your comfort zone but on the flip side it’s essential that you know when to stop. Too much too soon can lead to serious injury.
If you normally walk for an hour each day and want to do more, add an extra 5 minutes each day instead of 30 minutes. Another thing to try is walk for 2 minutes at a good even pace then power walk for 30 seconds. Alternate this process for 20 to 30 minutes using the progression method to get up to 30 minutes.
Work your walk up slowly to your new goal. Slow and steady truly does win the race. Don’t forget to always ask your doctor before starting any new exercise to be sure it is a good fit with your current state of health.
38. Engage in a Regular Strength Training Program
Lifting weights at any age is a good move. In order to combat natural imitations age puts on your body; muscle and bone loss and decreased joint strength and mobility, you need to be building new muscle all the time.
By implementing regular moderate strength training into your day you are setting yourself up for long-term improved strength and mobility and overall better health. Just 20 minutes per day, 3 days a week, makes a huge difference. Longer is even better.
There are also many strength training chair exercises available if you have difficulty moving around.
39. Play with Your Grandkids
Kids help us stay active because they are naturally little live wires so make sure to have those grandkids over as much as possible and they will keep you on your toes and physically active for hours on end. I know I always need a Grandpa nap when ours have gone back to their respective homes.
40. Change Your Exercise Program or Location Every Month to 6 Weeks
When you challenge your body and mind, you are renewing your investment in great health. This also inspires you to take action to naturally trick your body and mind into new physical challenges. If your body and mind know your routine by memory, you’re going to decrease your overall benefits. Change is good on all levels, particularly when it comes to strength and mobility exercises.
41. Cut Your Own Grass
This is an easy one. Even if you just do the trimming, you are making a point of actively challenging your body to improve your range of motion and that will serve you well down the road. It also gets you out into the sunshine for your much needed dose of Vitamin D.
42. Don’t Sit For Long Periods of Time
When you sit for long periods of time, particularly when you’re older, you start to seize up and the longer you set the less mobile you become. Make a point of getting up out of your chair every 5 or 10 minutes to go for a quick walk or to do some stretching. Just make sure you are never stuck in one place for long periods of time.
Also read this telling article…..it will really open your eyes to the health dangers of “resting and rusting”. Sitting, Exercise and Premature Death – How To Make Sure You Are Not One of the Statistics
43. Stretch and Exercise While Sitting Down/Watching T.V.
Believe it or not you can be lazy and still be active. When you’re sitting down to watch your favorite show make sure you do some simple exercises. Something as simple as shoulder rolls, squeezing a tennis ball or stress ball or reaching down and touching your toes a few times during the ad break is only going to help!
44. Park Further Away From Your Destination
If you park right beside the entrance to the grocery store, you make it too easy. However, if you make a point of parking a few blocks away from your destination and walking the rest of the way, you force yourself to put in the extra effort. Little bits add up. Start small and work your way up.
45. Use the Stairs
Escalators, lifts and elevators are the lazy way out so where you can take the stairs and get your body moving that little bit extra. It is a great cardio workout as well. It may take you a few minutes longer but that’s a very important few minutes invested in your long-term goal of becoming healthy and active.
46. Get Dropped Off Further Away
If you don’t drive and normally are dropped off to do errands, ask to be dropped off a little bit further away from your intended destination. This forces you to challenge yourself physically and improve your mobility in the process. Another great way to engage in some incidental exercise.
47. Book a Trip with Lots of Activities
Everyone needs a holiday from time to time and when you book your next trip make sure it’s chock-a-block full of activities. What this is going to do is activate your mind and body giving you numerous opportunities to help slow or even halt the aging process.
So if you snooze you lose! So sign yourself up for a walking, hiking, or biking tour and you’ll be off on the right foot.
48. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is the cornerstone to great long-term health. Your body needs adequate time each night to shut down and recharge, according to sleep experts at Psychology Today. When you are well rested you have more energy and better focus and this does wonders when it comes to your healthy aging program.
49. Get Creative Throughout the Day
If you consciously remind yourself to work on strength and mobility each day, you will. Look around you and think of ways you can get more active and strengthen your body and mind to better stand the test of time. Take a few extra trips up and down the stairs to do laundry.
It doesn’t hurt to run the vacuum through the house twice. In addition, when you are cooking you can incorporate some light exercises like squats, lunges, and overhead presses, to make the most of your time. It all helps!
50. The Final Word – Don’t Stop Moving!
Even on the days when you feel tired it’s very important to do at least 10 minutes of exercise. Something is always better than nothing!
Improving your strength, balance and mobility as you age is all about creating that conscious desire to continuously work at it.
When you mentally acknowledge the benefits of your actions you are increasing the odds tremendously that you’ll stick with it and continue to look for ways to decrease your aches and pains and increase your flexibility, agility, mobility, balance, strength and desire to become more active.
In the end………
IT’S ALL MIND OVER MATTER and IT’S ALL YOUR CHOICE!
So Make an Effort – Join the Active Ageing Movement NOW!
It is the complete answer to Anti-Aging.
Cheers – John…..your Active Ageing Advocate and Coach.
P.S. If you have any ideas for the Active Ageing Movement or need any help with answers to your health and fitness problems then please let me know…….my platform is to help everyone live a long, healthy and active life…….something that you will enjoy.
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