Seniors’ Mobility for Asian Americans: Best Exercise Types & Mobility Equipment
As a person ages, their overall health and the onset of conditions like degenerative bone disease and arthritis can dramatically reduce their mobility.
But no matter what age you are, physical activity will improve your flexibility and maintain your mobility. It’s when you start to slow down and become less active that mobility becomes an issue.
For seniors, remaining physically active is the key to both mobility and reducing the physical discomfort that often comes along with arthritis and other chronic health conditions.
In this quick guide, we cover the best exercises for seniors to stay active and mobile. We also cover equipment that seniors can use while working on their mobility.
Best Mobility Exercises for Seniors
As you age, and mobility becomes more of an issue, it’s important to find exercises that you can do that will help you stay fit and as physically active as possible. Exercises to improve flexibility, endurance/cardio, balance, and strength are essential for good health and well-being.
Exercising on a daily basis, even if it’s only for 30 minutes will improve your mobility and keep you feeling your best. Warm-up exercises that include squats, a short walk, and various stretches will make help you get started. Cooldown is also important. Those few extra minutes before and after exercising will reduce your risk of injury and give you a chance to get back to your body’s normal heart rate.
Flexibility starts with loosening the joints and eliminating stiffness, in order to increase mobility. Exercises that involve the shoulder and upper arms will get the blood flowing above the abdomen. Stretching and reaching exercises that pull the muscles across the back, chest, and neck will keep them flexible. The same is true for the hips and the flexibility exercises that can be used to keep you moving. Hip flexors, squats, and lunges will improve flexibility from the abdomen downward. Performing these exercises on a daily basis will help to keep you moving without pain and discomfort.
For a list of the best functional exercises to improve flexibility (including illustrations and videos), please click here.
Endurance/cardio exercises are often referred to as aerobics. Aerobics are used to raise your heart rate and keep your blood flowing efficiently throughout your body. Endurance exercises assist the body in sustaining strenuous levels of activity for longer periods of time. It also strengthens and improves heart function. The stronger your heart, the more active you can be without overexerting yourself. Brisk walking and swimming are two ways you can increase your endurance and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Improve your endurance by checking this easy guide to the best cardio exercises.
Maintaining balance is essential if you want to remain mobile and physically active. Exercises like Tai Chi, yoga, and walking are excellent exercises for improving mobility and maintaining balance. Balance in the body and mind not only makes you feel better, it makes it easier to remain mobile and physically active without having to deal with stiffness, pain, inflammation, or other forms of discomfort. Maintaining physical and mental balance is the best way to have the highest quality of life and enjoy your favorite activities.
To see a quick guide to the best balance exercises, please click here.
Strength-building exercises will improve muscle tone and increase your body’s ability to bear its own weight efficiently. Side leg raises, chair dip exercises, and performing other forms of exercise with hand or ankle weights can dramatically improve your overall physical strength and keep you as mobile as possible. Using simple hand weights during walking or stretching exercises will add a little extra boost to your exercise routines that will increase over time.
Best Equipment for Seniors’ Mobility
For seniors with mobility issues, there are several pieces of equipment that can be used to help you get around while you are trying to improve your flexibility and regain your physical strength. Some are more supportive than others, but each serves the purpose of helping you maintain the highest level of mobility possible.
When it comes to equipment, explore your options and find the types of equipment you need that will help you reach your mobility goals. For some seniors, the need for equipment may be temporary, especially if you are recovering for an illness or regaining your strength after an injury.
Rollator walkers can be used effectively as a walker, but also offer you the option to use it as a seat as well. Because you have the ability to rest as needed, your mobility is dramatically increased. They are also easy to fold up and store to keep them out of your way when you no longer need them.
If you have difficulty maintaining your balance for long periods of time, a power wheelchair may be a more satisfactory option instead of a walker. Power wheelchairs allow you to go longer distances and require minimal effort on your part. This is an ideal option for individuals who have extreme arthritis or other health conditions that affect the legs. Power wheelchairs are sometimes more comfortable than a mobility scooter because they are made to be used for longer periods of time.
Mobile scooters are an excellent choice for individuals who are able to take a few steps but require assistance with longer distances. Mobile scooters vary in size and certain models may have longer-lasting batteries. Before choosing a specific style of scooter, look closely at your options. You will want to find one that you will be able to use on a long-term basis. If you have a progressive illness, look to the future and choose one that will continue to serve you well into the next few years. If you will be spending the majority of your time in your scooter, a power wheelchair may be the better choice.
Mobility is essential for a higher quality of life. Building your strength and increasing your stamina will help to increase your mobility while you are still fairly mobile. Once your mobility begins to deteriorate, there are pieces of equipment that will allow you to remain as active as possible. Even with the mobility equipment in use, it’s essential to exercise as much as possible to help you maintain your strength and endurance.
This guest article was written by Maurice Muise of SeniorsMobility.org. For detailed information on exercises and equipment for seniors’ mobility, check out their guides to the best mobility exercises for seniors and best mobility aids for seniors.