Age, injury, surgery . . . there are many occurrences and life situations that may affect your mobility. We often take the ability to get around with ease for granted. Whether you’re transforming your lifestyle for the better as you age, or recovering from an injury that affects your mobility, don’t miss these 4 top hacks:
Find a Great Mobility Aid
Hobbling around on crutches or strapping tennis balls to the bottom of a walker is so yesterday.
Knee scooters are the latest alternative to crutches for foot and lower leg injuries. They are essentially a 3 or 4-wheeled walker with a raised pad for you to rest your injured leg on at a 90 degree angle. Additionally, advancements in assistive technology, when it comes to motorized scooters and wheelchairs, have revamped the maneuverability and efficiency of mobility aids.
Sticking to the basics? Find the most reliable walking canes suited to your specific needs by talking with your doctor and shopping around – wide-based canes with 4 small rubber feet instead of one provide greater stability for people with weaker leg and foot muscles. As well, traditional walking canes now come in collapsible frames that can be folded for easy storage and transportation. New and improved mobility aids that have enhanced the original designs from a hundred years ago are readily available online, at your pharmacy, or with an order from your doctor.
De-Clutter Your Living Space
Trip hazards, general ‘junk’ that is just in the way, clutter you can’t let go of . . . all of these obstacles in your living environment might be inhibiting your mobility. When it is easier to get around your own home, you’re more likely to well, get around.
Preventing falls and injury is key to retaining independent mobility too, and eliminating clutter and unused items from your walking space helps do this. With the assistance of friends, family, caregivers, or another support network, ‘spring cleaning’ to boost your mobility can be accomplished with these quick reminders:
Start small and work on one room or area of your house/apartment at a time.
Pack up gently-used clothes, books and appliances to donate to a charity re-store
Remove furniture and larger items that take up a lot of space and provide no use
Eliminate small clutter like piles of paper on the kitchen table, old magazines, and full junk drawers to notice a difference as well
You heard that right – staying active helps you stay mobile! Routine exercise is quite possibly the most important action you can take to stay mobile. Physical fitness not only promotes good heart health, but helps you maintain a healthy weight, strengthens bones and muscles, and even prevents cognitive decline and memory loss associated with aging. In addition, exercise as simple as taking brisk walks, practicing yoga, swimming or playing tennis, supports strong balance, coordination and flexibility – all key requirements for maintaining mobility.
Diet & Hydration
A healthy diet that fuels strong bones and muscles will power your mobility well into old age. Eating calcium-rich foods like sardines, milk, kale, and yogurt help combat bone density loss, while protein-forward foods including ground beef, eggs, cottage cheese, fish, and even quinoa help build muscle mass, repair tissue, and promote a healthy metabolism. Add in whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables to acquire the vitamins and minerals your body and brain need to stay functioning in tip-top shape.
Healthy hydration also plays an important role in boosting mobility. Drinking the recommended 64 oz. of water a day both stimulates a healthy blood pressure and aids in digestion, but also gives you energy, helps you stay alert, and flushes out unwanted bacteria that could make you sick (and inhibit your ability to stay active).
What is your plan for staying mobile? It is never as simple as crossing your fingers and wishing for the best. Proactive steps you take now will make all the difference, whether you are recovering from an injury or simply approaching your Golden Years with a newfound sense of life. What you eat, how you exercise, even your environment all play a role in how long you stay on your feet (or how quickly you get back on them)!