When you think of the word mobility, you probably associate it with exercise – but staying mobile doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to engage in vigorous exercise. As a family physician, I always recommend that my patients live as active of lifestyles as possible, which can include a variety of things. In this article you will learn about the different ways in which you can stay mobile, the positive ways in which mobility impacts you and your health, and the risks that are associated with living a sedentary lifestyle.
How mobile you are or can be will sometimes depend on age. If you’re a teenager or young adult who is in good health with no underlying medical conditions to be concerned about, you will usually be able to engage in higher-impact exercise than if you were someone who was elderly, in failing health, or not used to getting regular physical activity.
As for the types of exercises that you can be doing to keep yourself mobile, there are many, although one of the most common, go-to forms of exercise is walking – especially when the weather is nicer. Walking is a simple, easy way to get your fitness in, and the great thing about it is that it doesn’t take much of it in order for your body to reap the benefits. Starting with as little as 30 minutes of walking each day can greatly benefit your health, including reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as reducing or improving the management of certain conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, diabetes, and joint and muscle pain. Walking can also improve your bone strength as well as improve your balance.
Stretching is another important way to keep yourself mobile. It not only helps strengthen your muscles, but it also improves their flexibility which allows for your joints to maintain their range of motion. When you don’t stretch, you put yourself at risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. When it comes to stretching, the areas you should focus on include the lower extremities, such as the calves, hamstrings, pelvis, quadriceps, shoulders, neck, and lower back. You don’t need to stretch every day, though stretching is recommended at least three to four times per week. If you’re new to stretching, it’s not uncommon to develop some tenderness in the areas that you’ve worked on, so always make sure you start slow and build your way up rather than doing too much at once.
As mentioned, if you’re not keeping yourself mobile one way or another, this is known as being sedentary, which puts your health at risk. For example, those who are physically inactive are at an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease or other cardiovascular-related diseases, an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese, an increases risk of developing depression or anxiety, an increased risk of elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a risk of a decrease in skeletal muscle mass. Along with inactivity, any of these health concerns can jeopardize your quality of life – and, in some cases, even be fatal, which is why staying mobile is so crucial.