As we get older, one of life’s little ironies comes into play. As we age, we lose our balance more easily than at any other time than as a baby, just learning to walk. But unlike babies, who are, after all, much closer to the ground and resilient with it, old bones do not bounce: they break. And alongside the lack of balance, our bodies begin to heal slower too, so we get the worst of the deal, with one fall, potentially setting us back for months! But you do not have to simply accept a future filled with the slow loss of mobility: there are ways to reduce your risk of falling and getting injured.
Keeping fit and active is an excellent way to maintain your balance and your strength, and just going for a fifteen minute walk once a day or so can be enough to help with this. While jogging can be harmful to the joints, walking is a very low-impact activity and it can also keep you in touch with your friends and neighbours, as you stroll past their houses, or perhaps bump into them on their own walk. You do not have to walk every single day to still reap the benefits – three or four times a week can be plenty.
Dismiss the thought of yourself in a stretchy leotard, puffing and straining to heave an immense barbell over your head! Weight lifting can be as simple as working your way through a quick ten-minute routine of bending and stretching, holding a couple of 400g cans in your hands. Anything that puts a little extra weight onto your bones will strengthen them, encouraging them to remain strong and dense, and warding off the onset of conditions like osteoporosis. Do get yourself checked for any breathing issues or heart diseases and keep appropriate prescription meds with you. Once you find the starting weight easier, add more to your burden (you can use a plastic bag, for example, with more than one can in it, or switch to kilogram bags of sugar) so that your muscles and bones are continually being exercised without causing injury or pain.
Adapt Exercises to Your Needs
If you are reliant on mobility aids to walk, making an outside walk impractical, you can still exercise your body. If you can walk a short distance before needing a break, take a slow circuit of your garden, for example. Or walk the length of the biggest room in your house. Repeat this several times during the day, as you feel able, and by the end of the day, you will have racked up a reasonable number of steps.
If you are wheelchair bound or otherwise unable to exercise standing up, there are a great range of chair exercises for the elderly that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Any exercise at all is better than none, and the earlier you start working on maintaining your strength and balance, the more of it you will hang on to for longer! But even if you have never been particularly fit, you can start your exercise regimen and get fitter and stronger – this is possible at any age, although it is harder the longer you wait and the more unfit you are. But you will be delighted with the results of your exercising! A happy body creates a happy engaged mind, demands nutrition, driving your appetite up, which in turn keeps you strong and healthy as you eat healthy real foods.