We can't stop the ageing process but with a few changes to our routine we can counteract some of the effects.
Here are our tips for helping you – or mum or dad – keep active, so you enjoy the best possible health and quality of life.
Regular physical activity
Balance is an important sense we all have, but as we age our reaction times get slower and it becomes more difficult to keep your balance. Maintaining your muscle mass by exercising can really help with this. Your bones are also incredibly important and can become more brittle and more likely to break as we age. Here are some simple things you can do to help maintain your muscles and strengthen your bones, allowing you to balance more easily and avoid falling:
- Eating a balanced diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D helps to improve the strength of your bones. People who stay out of the sun usually don't get enough vitamin D; if that's you, it's important either to take supplements or to spend more time outside in natural light.
- Weight-bearing activities help to maintain healthy, strong bones so they are less at risk from breakages.
- Just 30 minutes a day of something like gardening, housework or even popping down to the supermarket can make all the difference.If you struggle with that, here are some really easy and simple exercise you can do in your own home with just a sturdy chair; aiming to complete these six exercises once a day can be a really good way to keep fit and healthy:
- Heel raises: stand up holding onto the back of the chair for support and stand on your tip-toes. Hold for three seconds, lower and repeat 10 times.
- Toe raises: stand holding the back of the chair again with your feet flat on the floor and raise your toes without sticking your bottom out, repeat 10 times.
- Sit to stand: sit near the front of the chair and lean forwards slightly and stand up. Then slowly lower yourself back into the seating position and repeat 10 times.
- Heel-toe stand: stand with one hand on the back of your chair for support and then place your right foot directly in front of your left in a straight line and balance for 10 seconds, then repeat with your left foot in front.
- Heel-toe walking: using a kitchen cabinet or something of a
similar height for support, walk forwards slowly with one foot being placed
directly in front of the other.
- One-leg stand: hold onto your support with one hand and
carefully balance on one leg for 10 seconds then switch legs.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have written an excellent guide to staying steady called 'Get up and go' which has lots of practical advice.
Walking is a great way to keep active and healthy and lots of towns in Kent host guided health walks which are not only excellent exercise, but great for getting out and keeping social. Both Sevenoaks District Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council offer free health walks in various locations including Sevenoaks, Otford, Hildenborough Hadlow and Tonbridge, helping you to keep active at a pace that suits you.
If you're unable to take part, then it might be worth trying to walk as far as you can around your home or down the street to get the blood flowing and to work your muscles; every few days, try going a little bit further – maybe to the local shop.
Our vision changes as we age, so having yearly examinations are a must. Having the right prescription lenses will help make you aware of obstacles, which will reduce the risk of falls.
If you start to notice a lack of balance, it might be worth looking at your home and making sure everything is safe. This includes making sure there is sufficient light, checking rugs to make sure they aren't trip hazards and if need be installing grab rails in your bathroom, and having clear pathways in your garden.
Going out can be risky if you aren't prepared, but that doesn't mean you should be put off. To combat risks of falls, there are a few methods you could try so you can step outside with confidence:
- Take your time when you're out and about by scanning for any obstacles.
- Keep your wallet or purse in a regular bag or pocket so you can reach for it easily and not be flustered.
- Watch out for shop entrances with bumps in the door frames.
- Invest in a walking stick if you feel it will help your balance.
These tricks can help improve physical health and reduce the risk of falls. Our carers in the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks areas are always checking our clients are safe and are able to walk around their house and outside with ease, which makes things a lot smoother for them.
To discuss your care needs or those of someone you love in the
Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks areas
call 01732 447 055 or 01892 575 499