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Maintaining Your Mobility as You Age

Maintaining Your Mobility as You Age

As you age, mobility can become an issue as your body goes through various changes. Some people simply resign themselves to aches and pains as well as the challenges that come along with limited movement.


However, just because something is said to happen as you age, doesn’t mean that you have to put up with it or that you can’t reverse the effects.


Defeating Stiffness as You Age


Don’t automatically presume that the stiffness you feel as you move is just part of getting older. There can be many causes that can lead to stiffness. It can be a lack of regular exercise or an ailment such as arthritis.


You might start to notice how that when you start to get up from a chair or get out of bed in the mornings, you’re moving slower than you always have before. When you remain in one position or you don’t move for a period of time, muscles can stiffen up regardless of how old you are.


Plus, as you age, your body simply doesn’t bounce back when it comes to muscles. They don’t move as quickly and they don’t heal as quickly.  This stiffness that you feel isn’t actually due to the muscles that you’re finding difficult to move.


It’s caused because of the connective tissues. These tissues start to wear down as you grown older. This is what impairs your flexibility when you go to move. It’s why you don’t bend as easily or get up as easily when you do bend.


To compound the problem, when we do get stiff, we tend to slow down and kind of baby the area that’s stiff. That’s the worst thing in the world to do. Because keeping the area still and giving it limited movement leads to more stiffness and more limited movement.


The best thing that you can do for any kind of stiffness is to stay active. Your body needs movement in order to keep all the muscles, connective tissues and joints in good working condition.


On the same note, however, if you’re trying to do too much, you can overextend your body’s ability to heal muscles and ligaments. When you get too much exercise, you can end up limiting your mobility.


The best thing to do for mobility is to lead an active life from your younger years on up.  But if you’ve already reached the point of experiencing stiffness, there are some things that you can do to reverse it.


You need to do what’s called range of motion exercises. This simply means that you move your body through a range of motions to keep it limbered up. There are also gentle aerobic exercise and yoga that can reverse stiffness. Many people have also found benefit in using strengthening exercises.


Say Goodbye to Aches and Pains


Having aches and pains is no more inevitable as you grow older as the odds of getting any other ailment. In fact, many older people believe that developing aches and pains is a sign of age progression and they put up with it.


But the truth is that aches and pains do not go hand in hand with getting older. There are too many people that put up with aches and pains they don’t have to put up with simply because they don’t realize that are other options that they can turn to.


There are many options you can go with ranging from preventative to restoring good health. If you’re experiencing aches and pains, it’s a wakeup call that your body is sending trying to let you know that something needs to be done.


If any aches and pains are persistent and last longer than two to three weeks, you should always have those checked out by your doctor.  If you’re like most people, you look for ways to remedy these aches and pains that can sometimes interfere with your life.


You may not even realize that instead of just treating them, you can get rid of them once they’re properly diagnosed. Feeling back pain or joints that ache aren’t normal.


These are clues that you could be dealing with something like arthritis. There are many different kinds of arthritis - some more disabling than other types of this condition.


The one that’s most commonly associated with getting older is called osteoarthritis. This type happens as you get older simply because of the length of years the joints and cartilage have been used.


This type of arthritis is usually dismissed as a common sign of aging, so it often goes untreated and then gets worse. It can reach the stage so that it severely limits your mobility.


You can suspect this type of arthritis if you experience stiffness when you move - especially if it’s in the mornings after waking. There are many ways this can be treated and the aches and pains dealt with.


One of the solutions is taking anti-inflammatory medications that can cut down on the swelling caused by inflammation. Some people turn to alternative medicines for treating aches and pains and find that these herbal remedies work wonders for them.


Others use acupuncture, yoga or some form of meditation. The key to preventing aches and pains is in eating right and maintaining an active lifestyle. If you were not an active person before you started getting older, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose to start today to change that.


Age should never be a deterrent that holds you back from doing what you want to do with your life. It should also never be a factor when you have aches and pains.


Avoiding Fractures from Falls


You have to be careful as you grow older because it’s possible that your bones can become more brittle. So that means when you do have a fall, you’re much more likely to fracture a bone.


Though you’ll hear a lot of advice telling you to stay active and make sure that you exercise as you age, it’s truly one of the best things that you can do to avoid fractures.


The reason that it helps is because exercise helps you improve how fast you can react to an unexpected situation. These sharper reflexes can help you to catch yourself when you stumble.


Many people don’t realize that just like the need to keep your muscles fit through exercise, your bones get that same benefit. The more you use them, the stronger they become.


When your bones are tougher, the odds are greater that if you do fall, you won’t end up getting a fracture. You need to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to keep your bones strong.


This includes exercise and a healthy diet. You want to eat a diet that’s rich in foods that help keep bones strong. Taking multivitamins and making sure you get the right amount of vitamin D will also be helpful.


Calcium is known to strengthen bones - and the stronger your bones are, the better off you’ll be as you age. So you can protect your bones on the inside, but you can also protect them on the outside as well.


Over a quarter million older people fracture a hip in a fall. New studies have shown that wearing hip protectors can help prevent these fractures. Hip protectors are undergarments made with special thick padding on the sides that are meant to absorb the brunt of a fall. They can reduce the odds of ending up with a hip fracture by more than fifty percent.


You can also be prone to fall if you have balance problems. Balance problems can be tied to medications like high blood pressure medicines or to conditions such as inner ear problems.


Dizziness can make you prone to falling and poor vision can also contribute to falls that lead to fractures. If you do happen to fall, the way that you land can work to prevent you from developing a fracture.


Try to not take a fall on your hip. This is generally where many older people end up getting hurt. They fracture or even break their hip. If you do take a fall and you’ve pitched forward, try to take the brunt of the fall on your knees.


Your knees are tougher than other bones and can take a brunt impact without fracturing like other bones will. For falls that pull you backward, try to keep your hands from bracing yourself even though this is a natural instinct.


Bend your torso slightly forward and allow your buttocks to take the brunt of the fall. The leaning forward motion will prevent you from putting the force of the fall onto your tailbone. Though you may bruise, you won’t fracture anything if you let your rear support the fall.


Watch Your Gait to Keep Mobility


As you get older, your gait can change. This can be from medications, from previous bone fractures or other causes. Some older people don't lift their foot as high so they end up developing a shuffling gait.


This makes it far too easy to catch a foot on something and pitch forward. When you’re older and fall, it can be detrimental to your mobility - even if all you do is end up with some bruising.


Sometimes when you get older, you may start to drag a foot a beat behind as you walk. To fix most gait issues, you need to concentrate on preventative measures.


Make sure that your floors aren’t polished so much that they’re slippery. Get rid of any rugs that have a tendency to life up on any end. If you have rugs that you don’t want to part with, make sure that they’re secured down firmly.


When you’re walking around inside your house, don’t wear slipper socks or any shoes that are slippery on the bottom. When you go outside of your home, wear shoes that have good grips on the bottoms of them and get rid of any shoes where the sole has become worn down.


Get any loose carpet seams repaired - especially if you have a two-story home and the carpet seams are near the top of the stairs. Make sure that you have handrails where needed.


When getting in and out of the shower, use handrails. Also make sure that your bathtub has a slip proof bathmat adhered to the bottom of the tub. One of the best things that you can do to keep a strong gait and even reverse a bad gait as you age is to get moving.


You can keep a strong gait by engaging in activities like walking or dancing. You can also get involved with yoga or other mobility practices. For people who have already begun to experience problems with their gait, you can learn how to do gait exercises.


Doing this at least twice a week will improve your body’s ability to balance itself. These exercises are great for improving stiffness as well as gaits where one foot slightly drags.


The exercises are specifically designed to strengthen the muscles that help you walk - including hip and calf muscles.

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