How to improve mobility of seniors

For many people it is of great importance to be mobile and fit into a high age. Being able to walk without help is one of the strongest indicators of whether someone can live independently or not. Mobility is also a basic part of healthy ageing. No one likes to be immobile and always be dependent on the help of others, but of course those circumstances sometimes cannot be influenced by ourselves. But we can do more than just wait for the best. Many studies show that our condition in a high age is dependent on more than just our genes or nature.

What is mobility?

Mobility is the ability to do general things on your own or live without the help of others. It is the key for an independent life. Losing the ability to leave your home on your own because of stairs or other things can be loss of mobility as well as losing the ability to drive a car safely.

The general importance of mobility

The best thing about mobility is you can do the things you want. You can leave the house whenever you want or easily walk downstairs to the refrigerator to get something to eat. You are independent from others and able to live a normal life. When people loose mobility, they often need help to get their things done. The problem is that sometimes this help is not available all the time or especially not available when it is really needed. Mobility is also really important for social relationships and mental health. People need to get into contact with others or they will become lonely and in the worst case depressive. With lack of mobility going out could become really hard.

How to improve mobility by sport

Everyone knows that sport has a big impact on our health, regularly a little bit of sport can make a big difference. Researchers noticed that people who watch more than 5 hours of TV a day and were less physically active than 3 hours a week were more likely to develop trouble with walking and mobility compared to more active people.

For example, WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of endurance training (for example running or walking) per week for adults aged up to 64 years. Ideally, the training should be on as many different days as possible and each session should last at least 10 minutes. From 64 upwards even more movement is recommended. According to WHO, as much training should be added as your own complaints allow. But not only training is important, also general physical activity during the days such as simple walking, housework or shopping for groceries are likely to improve your mobility as well.

Important: Especially with serious pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or in very old age, medical advice should be obtained and the training should be discussed with a doctor.

The positive effects of walking

Regular walking has many positive effects on our health and mobility. The most obvious ones are probably strengthening of the muscles and bones, which helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Especially in old age, this is a very positive effect because these illnesses are really common amongst older people. Also the balance and coordination can be greatly improved. This reduces the risk of falling and possibly breaking bones. Other positive effects are lowering the risk of heart attacks, the risk of strokes or the risk of developing diabetes.

In addition to the many positive physical effects, there are also a few psychological ones. Walking also helps with depression and helps to improve the sense of community while running in groups. But the best thing is you can get outside, breath some fresh air and leave all your everyday live problems for a while.

Home installations

Except from training there are many other possibilities of providing mobility.
The most simple thing is installing handrails at home. It can take away the fear of falling and allows mobility restricted people to keep on walking safely in their home.

Also stairlifts are a good way to improve mobility. For Many elderly people it is impossible to walk stairs anymore. With stairlifts they can easily reach other floors without help. If someone is not able to walk anymore at all, probably a wheelchair can provide new ways of mobility to him. With the help of this he can continue going out or moving safely in his house.

Last but not least, modern technology out of the field of AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) can help elderly or mobility restricted people a lot. These systems can recognise if someone has fallen or needs help, in case of emergency help is called automatic.

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