What do our overall health, happiness and social schedules have in common?
Our ability to get from point A to point B impacts our social life, our access to shops and leisure activities, as well as our overall health and well-being. And while mobility issues are quite common as we age, that doesn’t mean they should be considered inevitable, or that the risk can’t be decreased.
A 25-year study from the UK looked at activity levels of “elite” fit and healthy adults between the ages of 72 and 92. They found that even with a fairly active group of people:
- 70% of the day was spent sitting or lying down
- 20% of the day was spent standing
- 7% of the day was spent walking.
And this is an elite group. So what percent of the day do most seniors spend standing or walking? The numbers are still out on that but it is likely much less.
Daily moderate physical activity can mean the difference between seniors being able to keep up everyday activities or becoming housebound.
Moderate activities can include things like walking, mall walking, gardening, golfing or using a stationary bike. And the goal is to maintain movement for the equivalent of 400 meters, or about a quarter of a mile.
This distance is once around a track, and while that may seem arbitrary, it is anything but. This distance can see you from the parking lot to the store. It can get you about two or three blocks around the neighbourhood. It is an important distance for maintaining an independent lifestyle.
If you are able to go this distance, or even more, that is great! But also extremely important to maintain.
And if you are unable to meet this distance here are some strategies to work to improve your mobility:
- Utilize a device that tracks your steps throughout the day. There are many on the market at varying price points. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to work. Seeing those numbers can be great motivation and lets you know how much you are moving and when you are most active throughout the day.
- Mornings have shown to be the best time to be active. This is when you feel the most energized after a good night’s sleep. So start your day off with a walk or activity. Slowly, increase the amount of time spent engaging in these activities.
- See a physical therapist to assess any mobility limitations and come up with a plan of action. They can offer resistance and balance exercises which have shown to improve mobility weakness and balance disorders.
If you want to expand your social circles and find friends that can help you lead a healthier, more active lifestyle, Amintro can help. We are a social app designed exclusively for those aged 50 plus. Membership is free, and enables you to connect with like-minded individuals online and then meet with confidence face-to-face. It is a safe, easy, and effective way to increase your social engagement.
By Christine Tompa