SFH #92: Mobility and Aging

5 tips to actively improve and maintain our mobility

I've been active and mobile my entire life. However, I have not always had excellent mobility. My feet and ankles have been a source of difficulty as I racked up injuries over the years. Thankfully, I had a big wake-up call to get myself on track. It's been a long process, and I plan to keep at it as long as I plan to be active, for the rest of my life, of course.

A significant factor in living our most active lifestyle is to improve and maintain our mobility. We can preserve our musculoskeletal structure (muscle, bone, and joints), which naturally declines with age. Moreover, we can even reverse age-related changes to our body's structure.1

How can we actively improve our mobility as we age?

  1. Stretch and foam roll. Stretching enables us to lengthen our muscles and soft tissue improving our flexibility. Foam rolling allows us to loosen and break up the tension in our fascia and release our muscle tightness. When your fascia is healthy, it will enable your muscles to glide against each other fluidly.2 

  2. Low-intensity movement. At the bottom of the low-intensity food chain are short walks. Something as simple as a daily walk can stretch our muscles and promote blood flow through our bodies.3

  3. Build and maintain strength and balance. Strength training allows us to build and preserve the function of our entire body.4 Additionally, we can access energy to do the activities we enjoy.

  4. Focus on the function of our spine and joints. Our spine gives our body stability. A strong spine and good posture are essential to sound mobility; a painful one can defeat it. Our crucial mobility joints are the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, and wrists. Through focused stretching and dynamic movement, we can access an ideal range of motion.

  5. Combat inflammation and build physiological integrity through nutrition. Preventing inflammation helps our muscles and joints maintain their integrity. Furthermore, inflammation causes muscle and joint stiffness, which will lead to spinal health and joint dis-ease along with chronic issues, if left unchecked. Foods like tomatoes, nuts, olive oil, spinach, kale, berries, and fatty fish are natural anti-inflammatories and nourish our muscles and joints. While, foods like white bread, fried foods, red meat, and sugary beverages will increase inflammation and hinder our movement.

Below is one of my favorite functional wrist stretching routines that reduced my shoulder pain and had me moving more freely just after a week of doing them daily (he goes into it around 50 seconds in). I recommend a dynamic version for about 2 minutes a day. I stay on my knees and just work the angles. 😉

Watch Mr. Handsome - Roger Frampton do his thing. 📺

1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4978365/

2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3242643/

3

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098122/

4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639017/