Aging presents a number of challenges, both physical and mental. However, there are a host of actions you can take to prevent loss of mobility and stay independent. Here are some steps that will keep you up and walking with confidence.
One of the common effects of aging is loss of flexibility in the feet. Often, elderly people experience impaired dorsiflexion. This means that their toes cannot bend upward, making walking difficult. The positioning and stiffness of the toes may also result in a great deal of pain. By stretching the area with the aid of hands or picking up marbles with your toes, you can strengthen them so that they can move more normally once again. If you live in an assisted living community, you can most likely receive help in performing these stretches from the staff there.
Exercise Your Legs
You may find that your legs themselves are also weaker or unbalanced as time goes on. This is where exercises are helpful. As an example, you can improve your leg strength and balance by leaning on one leg, then raising the other leg up sideways and attempting to balance in that position for several seconds. Besides your legs, your core plays a fundamental role in your balance while walking, so you should do exercises to build it up as well. At a basic level, you may twist your torso from side to side or lean on each side by lowering one shoulder and holding the position before switching. As your core becomes sturdier, you may move up to bridges and crunches.
Get a Form of Support
After much time spent stretching and exercising your legs, walking may still not seem as easy as it once was. Because of this, you should look to a form of external support to aid you as you walk. This will allow you to adjust to differences in your body and provide an extra measure of safety and security. Learn how to safely use your cane or walker, then with the image of the proper movements in your head, walk a short distance indoors. Slowly increase your time and distance until you can walk with more ease. Walking is an excellent way to stay limber and vibrant, retaining independence no matter what your age.
If you find yourself or a loved one struggling with walking, balance, and other mobility, consider physical therapy or rehab. services.