In a world that so often demands sitting down – such as when you are watching TV, looking at a computer, playing computer games, and staying home more due to coronavirus, it is still a very good idea to stay as active as possible. Longevity of life is largely based on staying mobile. And it is important to be active throughout your entire life to reap the most benefits from it. Inactivity is going to shorten your life
Disability Can Be a Starting Point
Studies have indicated that as people age there is often a progression of problems that often leads to disability, decline, and then death. While there can be a long period between disability and death, the speed of the decline increases once you are disabled.
Becoming temporarily disabled often leads to hospitalization, a loss of independence, and possibly a need to be institutionalized. Once put into an institution, medical bills increase because of the need for more medical care. Eventually, this often leads to death.
Functional Decline Can Lead to Less Mobility
There is a strong connection between remaining independently mobile and maintaining functional abilities. Mental and emotional decline begin to occur at faster rates in the elderly as mobility decreases. Older women are at a higher risk for a decline in function than are older men.
Once you begin to lose mobility, you restrict your ability to function independently. Medical efforts will be directed toward trying to help the individual recover mobility to bring a return – if possible – to independence. Without it, decline speeds up and the quality of life decreases.
Testing for Mobility
One test that measures someone’s mobility is the “Timed Up and Go” test (TUG). This simple test measures balance, mobility, ability to walk, and fall risk. The test only takes 15 seconds for a mobile person, but longer periods indicate less mobility.
In the test, the individual starts out sitting in a chair. He or she then needs to stand without using their arms, walk three meters, turn around, walk back to the chair, turn back around and sit down.
Why Mobility Is So Important
As you grow older, you tend to become less active. This reduces your strength, muscle tone, and flexibility – which leads to a higher risk of injury. Being less active also leads to less stability because you are not using the muscles as much, which will limit your range of motion. When this happens, you begin to lose muscle tone in those muscles that you need for stabilization.
You Need Regular Exercise
Keeping those muscles moving as much as possible – even with as simple an exercise as walking four to five times a week – can help you retain your mobility and independence. Finding a friend or family member to go with you and encourage you will help you develop and maintain an exercise habit.
Along with a sedentary life, disease is likely to follow. As you gain weight, you become more prone to develop problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, colon cancer, and much more. The World Health Organization says that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of all causes of mortality. Sitting at a desk all day can also lead to the same conditions.
Staying mobile and getting in about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is a simple way to increase your mobility and stay active. It will also help you stay healthier and more independent.