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Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA

8 Things to Start Doing Today If You Want to Stay Mobile Into Old Age

Jan 08, 2024
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Physical decline may be part of normal aging, but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate the process and preserve a strong, functional body that allows you to stay active. Here are eight effective ways to stay mobile as you get older.

Everyone can expect their bodies to gradually decline as they grow older. But it’s a common misconception that achy joints, weak muscles, loss of flexibility, slow reflexes, poor balance, and reduced mobility are an inescapable reality for all aging adults.   

Why? Physical decline may be part of normal aging, but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate the process and preserve a strong, functional body that allows you to stay active.  

As a geriatric care expert specializing in preventive medicine, Dr. Socrates Garrigos and our team at Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA, in McAllen, Texas, know that establishing the correct habits right now can go a long way in keeping you mobile as you age. 

Here, we offer eight things you can start doing today to protect your mobility tomorrow. 

1. Stay physically active

Just as a sedentary lifestyle puts you on the fast track to inactivity and mobility challenges in your later years, keeping yourself moving is the best thing you can do to preserve your mobility as you age. 

Make daily walks a priority, and incorporate other low-impact workouts, like cycling, swimming, or dance, in your weekly routine. Above all, don’t sit around all day — get up and move as much as possible.   

2. Watch your weight 

Mastering weight control when you’re younger can pay innumerable health dividends when you’re older, including sustained mobility. When you maintain a healthy weight, you’re more likely to avoid or minimize joint pain and stiffness.  

You’re also more likely to steer clear of chronic conditions that can lead to mobility-impairing nerve and circulation problems, like type 2 diabetes and venous insufficiency.  

3. Build muscle strength

Your muscle mass begins to decline in middle age, taking your metabolism with it. The progressive, age-driven loss of muscle mass can slowly rob you of your strength and ultimately undermine your mobility.  

Incorporating strength training sessions into your weekly workout routine can help you counteract this natural decline and keep you vital. Strength training doesn’t have to involve heavy lifting; simple bodyweight exercises, like squats, lunges, bridges, and pushups, can get the job done and be modified to your fitness level.  

4. Stretch out your body 

Regular stretching doesn’t just release muscle tension, it also keeps your body flexible and helps your joints maintain a fuller range of motion. As you age, stretching becomes more important for muscle recovery and normal mobility.   

Stretching lengthens your muscles, releases bodily tension and stiffness, and keeps your joints fully functional. It takes about ten minutes to stretch all your major muscle groups.  

5. Get down on the floor 

Diminished muscle strength and stiff, painful joints can make it harder for older adults to get up off the floor. Unfortunately, not being able to get up off the floor with ease in older age is a major predictor of increased fall risk and fall-related injuries.  

It’s helpful to get down on the floor daily to keep your balance, stability, and total-body coordination primed — ideally when you’re doing your daily stretches. Getting on the floor and back up again recruits all your major muscle groups and protects your mobility.  

6. Practice good posture

When poor posture is the norm, overworked back and neck muscles can lead to ongoing strain and tension, structural imbalances, and joint damage. 

If you’re a chronic sloucher, now’s the time to rehabilitate your posture. Why? A neutral spine is the foundation of good posture, and good posture is the foundation of sustainable strength and mobility.  

7. Improve your balance 

To maintain mobility and reduce fall risk later in life, you should sustain balance, coordination, and stability. Doing so requires intentional and consistent practice as you age. 

You can make things easier on yourself later by being mindful of your balance, coordination, and stability now. Light weight training and yoga can be helpful, as can tai chi, a low-impact activity that uses slow, deliberate movements to increase your leg strength and core stability and improve your range of motion, flexibility, reflexes, balance, and total-body coordination. 

8. Have regular checkups

Staying mobile into old age means staying healthy, too, and keeping you healthy is the central objective of preventive care medicine. Your annual exam provides invaluable insight into your well-being at every age to identify minor health concerns before turning into major problems that rob you of your mobility.  

Call us today for more expert tips on healthy aging, or use our online booking feature to schedule an appointment at Socrates A. Garrigos, MD, PA, in McAllen, Texas, any time.