Don’t Let Aging Get You Down // Mobility

Aging Mobility.jpg

This is the first installment in a three-part series on aging. Stay tuned for posts on nutrition and socializing. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.


How can we prevent losing critical muscle strength as we age?  Habits shape our future and we need to decide what habits we want defining who we are.  It is easy to get into the rut of not exercising, and with that comes quick atrophy of muscle and bone strength.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout life is essential in preventing chronic illness and other issues while aging.  The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has published a book titled, The State of Aging & Health in America 2013.  It says, “More than a quarter of all Americans and two out of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions.”  Some of the factors they studied to attribute to America’s health include physical activity during the month, obesity, smoking, and regular medical checkups.

The book suggests,  “Mobility is fundamental to everyday life.” Decreased mobility is related to multiple health problems like depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, injuries from falls and automobile crashes.  If you could live longer and healthier by exercising 20 minutes a day, would you do it?  It is easy to say yes, but I know for myself it can be hard if you don’t schedule it into your daily routine.  It is never too late to improve personal mobility; all that is required is gradual daily changes.

 

There are great success stories on the Strong Women: Lifting Women to Better Health website of women regaining strength they lost over the years.  These women show what is possible for not only women, but men also.

As adults transition into their 50s and 60s, they may change their regular exercise activities.  To maintain health, older adults need both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. For example:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (i.e., brisk walking).
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Or

  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week (i.e., jogging or running).
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

 

Balance Exercises

  • Tai Chi
  • Stand on one foot holding onto a sturdy chair; hold for 10-15 seconds
  • Walking heal to toe; take 20 steps

Stretching Exercises

  • Yoga
  • Shoulder rolls

Endurance Exercises

  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Raking leaves
  • Mowing the lawn

Strength Exercises

  • Weight lifting
  • Back leg raises while holding onto a sturdy chair
  • Side leg raises while holding onto a sturdy chair

Many more examples along with a virtual trainer can be found on the “Strong Women” website.  Also be aware of resources at your local recreation or senior center.  For example, the  Murray City Heritage Center has classes that provide different opportunities to keep an active lifestyle as you enter the 50s and 60s.

One thing to remember is that if you have been maintaining a healthy lifestyle by consistently exercising, it should be fine to continue as long as you follow guidelines from health care providers and professionals.

 


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 

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