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5 reasons to work on mobility as we get older
Want to keep up with your grandkids? Carry your own groceries and make your own bed? Well, nobody wants to do the last one, but if you would prefer to stay active and competent in your old age, you need to prioritise your mobility. Unfortunately, like with most things, your muscles and connective tissues get less robust with time. They can tighten and become stiff, which means it is imperative to work on maintaining and improving your mobility with a regular exercise and stretch routine. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons that will change your mind.
1 Injury prevention
Tight, stiff muscles restrict your ability to move freely, which can increase your chances of injury as the muscles are more easily stretched or strained. It can also mean that other muscles begin to compensate for weaker ones, which puts them under pressure and may result in faster wear and tear. Reduced range of motion can also increase your risk of falls, which you want to avoid as it can increase your chances of serious health complications. By working on your mobility with strength training (try using resistance bands for a low-impact workout) and stretching, you will help protect yourself from harm.
2 Increased independence
It is pretty simple – if you can’t move around freely by yourself, you must rely on someone else. While staying social and connected to friends and family is important, maintaining your independence can have a positive impact on your mental health and allow you to feel in control of your life and your ageing journey. Mobility is essential for simple, everyday tasks such as walking to the letterbox, brushing your teeth, taking out the garbage and brushing your hair. Staying mobile also means you can stay engaged in social outings and meet up with friends rather than being isolated at home. And social connectedness is vital for healthy ageing.
3 Improved balance
Engaging in mobility-friendly exercises such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and strength training will not only preserve and strengthen your muscles, it will also increase your range of motion and improve your balance. This in turn decreases your risk of falls.
4 Greater flexibility
Staying active helps keep your joints and muscles healthy and strong, which is essential for performing everyday tasks and has a direct impact on your mobility. By incorporating stretching into your routine with both static and dynamic stretching (use a stretch band for added support), your joints are more prepared for movement.
5 Better mental health
Decreased mobility is often synonymous with isolation. Losing your ability to make decisions for yourself and carry out basic daily tasks has been shown to have a detrimental effect on your mental wellbeing. By dedicating time to physical activity, though, you can help safeguard your future.
Although your mobility naturally decreases with age, there are ways to prevent it. Try to get out for a walk or run most days of the week, aim for 2-3 resistance training sessions a week, and make an effort to stretch for at least 10 minutes every couple of days. If you can’t get to a gym or need an easy way to work your entire body, you can work out from home with the great range from Medifit. From Active Bands, Active Loops, Active Tubes, Strength Grips, Stretch Bands and more, you have all that you need to perform a resistance workout and to also improve your mobility & flexibility. And remember to always consult your GP before beginning new exercises.