Mobility Issues as We Age - NL-050
Being able to move around is something we take for granted every day. Mobility is directly related to the quality of your life, allowing you to perform daily activities with ease and independence. As you age, physical changes in the body and underlying health problems can impact a person's ability to move and this can affect more than just your physical health. Difficulty with mobility in the elderly interferes with the ability to perform daily chores, go out and meet friends and engage in activities that give joy and fulfilment. This can be a huge source of emotional distress, resulting in social isolation, anxiety and depression. Limited mobility may also aggravate existing health conditions and increase one's risk of falling, which can result in broken bones and fear of falling again (that again reduces mobility and physical activity in a circular spiral downward).
How to recognize the early signs of mobility issues? These signs can be as simple as balancing issues while walking (uneven walk), falling too often or trouble standing up or sitting down. Some people may start avoiding climbing stairs.
Conditions that contribute to mobility issues
Previous injuries and fractures, muscle weakness, obesity, neurological disorders, mental health disorders, arthritis and chronic pain are the usual culprits that cause mobility problems in older people.
Tips to improve mobility
Be physically active: Even small movements can make a difference when it comes to improving overall health with limited mobility. Working with resistance bands, stretching, arm swings, wrists rotations and other light exercises (approved by a certified healthcare provider) can up your fitness game.
Try physiotherapy: The right treatment plan can help improve mobility, reduce risk of falls and make you more independent. It involves movements and exercises that help strengthen muscles, increase joint flexibility and improve balance.
Maintain a healthy diet: Eat a healthy diet that consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. A wholesome diet provides the right kind of nutrients that support healthy mobility with healthy bones and muscles.
Take the right supplements: Supplements such as calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, vitamin C and magnesium are good for bones, joints and muscles. In fact, studies show that higher intake of magnesium improves bone mineral density and reduces risk of fractures in older adults. Turmeric, with its curcumin content, also provides relief in conditions such as arthritis by reducing pain and inflammation, and improving joint function.
- Groenendijk et al. Impact of magnesium on bone health in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Bone. 2022.
- Paultre et al. Therapeutic effects of turmeric or curcumin extract on pain and function for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2021