“Get a move one”—that was the way my dad usually told me it was time to leave or that he needed me to move a little quicker. It wasn’t a reprimand, and he wasn’t being harsh or unkind. It was just his way. Thinking back on it just now, I can’t help but chuckle to myself. I can imagine him singing and dancing to the song in Disney’s “Madagascar”, I like to move it, move it, move it…. That’s not hard to do because up until he was in his early eighties, he was agile and surefooted enough to be fun and silly like that.
Having fun and even being a little silly at times has no age boundaries. Whether you are eight or seventy-eight, it’s okay for you to do a little dancing, swing and bop to the rhythm of the music, and enjoy teaching your grandkids to do things like play the clapping games you played as a child. Whatever keeps you moving and active without taking too much of a risk for falling doesn’t just make life more fun. It adds to the quality of your life.
April is the month we shine the spotlight on MOVING MORE. You know how important it is to move. Even the smallest movements (or lack thereof) makes a huge difference in the quality of our mobility and balance. Young or old. So, let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the ways you can safely add more movement to your day.
Arms and Hands
*Flex your hands and arms while you are out walking.
*Flex your hands and arms while you are watching television.
*Spend a minute or two a couple of times a day touching your fingertips to your thumb.
*Reach your arms above your head (stopping when your arm is fully extended) several times a day.
*Play clapping games with your grandkids.
*Rub lotion into your hands, arms, and legs every day.
*Make swimming motions, rowing motions, and flap your arms like a bird for a few minutes each day.
*Dust the furniture, figurines, and shelves in your house.
*Use the broom, mop, and vacuum cleaner if you are mobile enough to do so.
*Bake a batch of cookies or a cake from scratch. The stirring movements, cracking eggs, and lifting the pan in and out of the oven help with muscle tone and dexterity. FYI: They also burn off a few calories so you can enjoy a cookie (or two) warm out of the oven.
*Type on your laptop or tablet, send a text message or two each day.
*Play board games, card games, do jigsaw puzzles, or use a pencil or pen to complete word or number puzzles.
*Bend up and down and twist slowly from side to side from the waist. If you are standing, make sure you hold on to something for support and to ensure proper balance.
*Practice deep breathing several times a day. Be sure you don’t hyperventilate, though.
*Practice good posture.
*Roll your shoulders forward a backward a few times a day.
Legs, Feet, and Lower Body
*Walk. If possible, walk as much as an hour a day broken into two or three twenty to thirty minute intervals.
*If walking isn’t an option, walk in place—even from the side of the bed, a wheelchair, or the chair in your living room.
*Flex your legs from the knee and from the ankle several times a day.
*Spend as little time as possible sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. A normal sitting position is much safer and better for your circulation.
*Rotate your ankles in both directions several times a day.
*Kick a ball back and forth to your grandkids. If you need to use a cane or walker to help you balance, that’s okay.
*Ride an exercise bike…or a traditional bike if you can do it safely.
*Swim laps or do water aerobics a few times a week. This is also great for every other part of your body.
*Holding on to the edge of a countertop, table or heavy chair, go up and down on your tiptoes fifteen or twenty times a day.
*Wear shoes that fit you well, that have safe soles, and that don’t rub your heel so that walking and moving on your feet will be safe and enjoyable.
*Bend from the knees and waist to the extent that is safe and possible for you to do. Gardening, playing pickleball, cornhole, or other such activities provide opportunities for this type of movement.
*Mow your own lawn if possible.
*Don’t park in the closest spot to the door when out shopping if you don’t genuinely need to.
See? There are lots of things you can do to get a move on. Don’t let retirement, a medical condition, fear of falling, or the number attached to your age keep you from moving toward an active, fun, and busy life.
Guest post By Darla Noble
The views expressed by the author may not reflect the views of Age Safe America, LLC. The content here should not be taken as medical, legal or financial advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your own healthcare, legal or financial professional with any questions.