A fundamental goal of healthy aging is to keep walking as long as possible. Barring an injury or disabling disease, most of us think of the ability to walk as a defining capability of the human body. Of course, people who lose their ability to walk can still retain mobility through wheelchairs and assistive devices, and they can have full and happy lives. But there's no reason why most people can't keep walking their whole lives. It's important to stay active in order to maintain this ability—or, if you haven't been active for a while, to start with whatever simple measures it takes to boost your level of activity and start improving mobility.
Staying active with joint pain
It's important to keep joints moving, even if you're dealing with pain from arthritis or an overuse injury. But sometimes you'll need to keep weight off a joint and rest it more than you usually would. Don't let a painful joint prevent you from exercising; try these joint-friendly options instead:
- elliptical trainer
- stationary bike (recumbent or upright)
- tai chi
- swimming, water aerobics, or water walking
- rowing machine
- short walks throughout the day, instead of a long walk.
For more on keeping your mobility for a healthy life, buy the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, "Mobility and Independence."