3 Activities to Keep You Moving Throughout Life
Remember when you could run fast without even breaking a sweat? How about when you were able to do handstands or jump over curbs without worrying about breaking bones?
Those days may be pleasant memories, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to still move freely to enjoy your life.
As we age, we rarely challenge our bodies enough throughout our daily lives to keep it in tip top shape. Unfortunately, we pay the price for that neglect when one day we realize that not only can we not do handstands anymore, but we can't even get out of a chair.
Keeping your body strong and functional does not require a 3-hour daily exercise routine. In fact, if you do these 3 simple activities every day, you will find you will have greater strength, better balance and improved mobility.
1. Stand up without using your hands.
At some point in our lives, we learn that getting up from a chair is easier when we use our hands. However, every time we do that, we are denying our legs an opportunity to get stronger. This becomes a problem when we get older and realize that our legs are no longer strong and now we can’t get out of the chair without using our hands. Keep your legs strong by not using your hands.
Practice standing up from different chairs and surfaces. In the beginning, you will find that higher chairs or harder surfaces will be much easier for you. When you are able to get up without using your hands on easier surfaces, challenge yourself with softer and lower seats. Recliners are the most difficult types of chairs in which to practice.
2. Stand on one leg.
Flamingos have the right idea when it comes to working on balance. Standing on one leg allows your body to become better at balancing.
Improving your balance isn’t just a good idea to reduce your risk of falling, but it also helps you move more effortlessly and with less energy.
Practice standing on one leg while you are waiting for your popcorn to pop in the microwave or while you are standing in line in the grocery store. Make sure you are not using your hands unless you need to. A great goal is to stand on one leg for 30 seconds.
3. Walk quickly.
Our cadence, or how quickly we walk, is influenced by many factors. Age is only one. A habit of walking slowly is another.
Speeding up your walking pace allows your body to operate more efficiently and can reduce your risk for falls later in life.
Practice walking quickly for short distances first. Learning to walk quickly may take time to get used to. It is best to begin with walking shorter distances first then progress to longer distances when you are ready.
These three simple activities can help your body develop the strength, endurance and coordination it needs to help you live the life you want to live. You may not be able to do a handstand anymore, but you should be able to move around your world confidently for the rest of your life.
If you find these activities are not easy to perform or you do not feel safe or strong enough them, contact your physical therapist at 352-243-9341 for an examination. Your therapist can provide you with practical ways to improve your strength, balance and speed.