After all, there are plenty of examples of those who maintain their independence well into their 90s, while many others lose their independence in their 60s or 70s - sometimes even sooner,
So, what are the secrets? While lifestyle choices go well beyond the scope of this blog, we'd like to present five key ways to prevent mobility from slipping away over time:
- Hip flexibility: While its important to keep every muscle at its flexible norm, the hips are especially important to keep mobile. Not only do they aid in our most important movements, but they're among the first muscles to truly suffer, generally due to prolonged sitting and limited range-of-motion when they do see use. Your PPT professional should be testing and stretching these muscles at appropriate intervals to ensure they don't begin to decline.
- Core strength: The "core" muscles consist of the midsection - low back, lateral muscles, abdominals and hips. When these muscles maintain their health, they prevent both balance problems as well as postural deficits. These leads to a smaller likelihood of back problems, falls or reduced range of motion when walking or stair-climbing and even keeps the bones of the spinal column stronger. Your PPT provider uses your time with us to keep these muscles contracting appropriately and preventing atrophy that is common to aging.
- Aerobic capacity: This is the measure of your heart and lung maximal ability for work. While aerobic capacity does show an inherent decrease with age, the rate at which this change takes place can be greatly minimized with the right program. There are many specifics but in general, appropriate programs require five days/week of conditioning at ideal intensities and intervals.
- Postural health: Keeping the proper posture means more than "standing up straight". The muscles that keep your posture need the right training to make their synergy be what its meant to be and to prevent knots and similar obstacles. While there are many steps to this, achieving healthy posture makes for stronger body mechanics and improved mobility even in very advanced years. Your PPT program should involve appropriate exercise decisions that correct imbalances and decrease likelihood for pain, tightness or atrophy.
- Stride length: Every one of the items above is a contributor to the length of your walking stride, as well as to the mechanics of your gait. As your stride length decreases, so can the factors above, and vice versa. It is helpful to have your stride length monitored annually (or more frequently if you're a senior citizen) to keep it long and strong and to prevent its shortening.
We hope you find these five keys to maintaining healthy movements helpful! There are many more details and personal specifics to be addressed with each of these, and we would love to help you gain a better understanding.
Just call Client Services department at (877)698-3648 ext 7018 or reply to a PPT email to be forwarded to that department.
Our team of exercise scientists and top fitness educators are always here to help!