With this Special Health Report, A Plan for Successful Aging, you will learn the protective steps doctors recommend for keeping your mind and body fit for an active and rewarding life. You’ll get tips for diet and exercise, preventive screenings, reducing the risk of coronary disease, strengthening bones, lessening joint aches, and assuring that your sight, hearing, and memory all stay sharp. Plus, you’ll get authoritative…Learn More »
Discover the keys to a lifetime of self-sufficient living. Protect your mobility with practical steps and strategies that will keep you strong, steady, and active.
You take pride and joy from being on your own. The ability to rely on your own body, skills, and mental agility is a crucial part of a satisfying life.
From doing daily errands to taking the trip of a lifetime, from going out with friends to staying in your own home, much of living happily and well depends on mobility. But mobility can fade away.
Mobility and Independence, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, will help you maintain your mobility and safeguard your independence. it will give you recommendations for exercise, or diet, preventive care, and lifestyle choices that will keep you stronger and steadier with fewer aches and more stamina.
When it comes to mobility, the single most important thing you can do is stay physically active. You do have to use it or lose it. The report highlights activities that will keep your joints limber, strengthen core muscles, help you avoid back pain, and build your sense of balance – all important for maintaining mobility.
Prepared by Harvard Medical School doctors, Mobility and Independence offers a wealth of useful guidance. You’ll learn what to do to lessen the risks of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis…take pressure off your back…tone your core…maintain muscle power…and improve posture.
The report looks at ways to protect your vision, prevent hearing loss and keep your brain sharp. It provides tips for ramping up the nutrients in your diet without boosting calories. Plus, you’ll get advice for aging in place, adapting and fall-proofing your home, choosing services, and more.
This Special Health Report was prepared by Harvard Health Publications in consultation with Scott D. Martin, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopedics, Harvard Medical School, Sports Medicine Fellowship Director, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 49 pages. (2014)
- Mobility and quality of life
- The importance of mobility
- Measuring mobility
- Improving your mobility
- Prime movers: Knees and hips
- How knees and hips work
- General knee and hip care
- How osteoarthritis can slow you down
- Joint replacement
- Osteoporosis and hip fractures
- A good foundation: Feet and ankles
- Common foot problems
- Keeping feet healthy
- Active ankles
- A stable support: Your back and posture
- Sprains, strains, and chronic pain
- Exercise, good posture, and other back-healthy habits
- Nerve-compression syndromes
- Compression fractures
- Masterful muscles
- Building a strength training routine
- Balancing act
- The body’s balance system
- Balance and aging
- Health conditions that affect balance
- Reducing the risk of falls
- The mind and senses: Staying sharp
- Mobility and your brain
- Special Section: Is your diet sabotaging your mobility?
- Maintaining independence
- Aging in place
- Adapting and fall-proofing your home
- Adapting your lifestyle
- Choosing services
- Assessing your community
- Seeing a geriatrician
- Making a move
- The importance of socializing
Health information often focuses on diseases. It answers questions like “how do you keep from getting cancer?” or “what’s the best way to treat arthritis?” But if you look at what characterizes good health as you age, it’s not just avoiding conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It’s whether you are strong and capable, and whether you can continue to do all the activities you’ve done in the past. Can you move easily and without pain, or will simple tasks become more difficult? Can you remain independent and self-sufficient, or will you require help? Can you stay in your home, or will you need to move to assisted living or a nursing home?
These are questions that concern everyone, whether or not they are dealing with potentially debilitating health problems. Maintaining mobility and independence is a key goal as you age. Problems with mobility—such as slowed walking or difficulty rising out of a chair—are often the first sign of a decline in health and day-to-day function.
Many people won’t think about mobility loss until they are in their 60s, 70s, and beyond. But preventing it really should begin decades earlier. Many of the health problems that come with aging could be avoided or lessened by following healthy habits throughout adulthood. In addition, practices like exercising, building muscle strength, following a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are all easier if you start in your 40s and 50s. But even if you are older or are already have trouble getting around, the good news is that taking simple steps toward better health and physical conditioning can improve your abilities and help prevent further loss of movement.
The goal of this Special Health Report is to equip you with the knowledge you need to have an independent life. This report will show you how mobility relies on many body systems working together: your bones, muscles, and joints, senses, brain, and balance system. It will help you understand some of the common changes and health conditions brought on by aging that cause many people to begin losing their ability to move. The report translates clinical and scientific knowledge about mobility into practical steps you can take to stay healthy and strong. It takes a broad view of mobility, looking not just at whether you can climb several flights of stairs, but also whether you can move easily around your home and neighborhood, stay connected to your loved ones, and remain engaged in the world. Perhaps most important, this report will encourage you to challenge your body with regular physical activity and exercises that have been shown to preserve or improve mobility.
Whatever your age or health status, now is the time to ensure an active and capable future.
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