Want to Stay Mobile for Life? Keep Moving
No matter your age, we all think about what it's like to get old. Well, think probably isn't the right word; more like worry. Top of mind is usually something along this thought process: Will I be able to do the things I used to do when I was young? That worry, that fear, is why one of people's most important concerns as they age, besides overall health (disease risk) and brain health (cognitive function) is mobility - the ability to move well.
Fortunately, three's a simple way to maximize your mobility with age - and particularly when you're old: physical activity. Even light physical activity helps reduce the risk of experiencing mobility disability, according to research published in JAMA Network Open, a journal of the American Medical Association. Elderly women (average age: 78.5 years) who spent more time participating in light physical activity were less likely to experience mobility disability, defined in the study as an inability to walk up one flight of stairs or one street block. This is a significant findings, state the authors, because "Almost 1 in 4 women older than 65 years is unable to walk 2 to 3 blocks, and mobility disability is a key factor associated with loss of independence."
Wondering what counts as light physical activity, particularly when you're older? According to the study, example include "washing and drying dishes, gardening, and walking at a pace of about 1.5 mph, such as while shopping." In other words, we're not talking about hitting the gym every day (when they reopen) or running marathons (although more vigorous physical activity also has its health benefits); simple lifestyle activities can do the trick.