Losing mobility can be a gradual process or come along very suddenly. Although seen to be more common in older people, mobility issues can affect up to 1 in 5 people of any age. Like all steps taken towards safety, prevention vs reaction is the best path to take. Unfortunately, however, sometimes we aren’t given that option. Keep reading below to see how to increase mobility in the home.
Exercise is so important for all aspects of our lives. Keeping our bodies moving helps to keep our joints active and can help prevent or reduce stiffness. It’s not necessary to run 5km or lift weights, there are plenty of gentle exercises we can do at home. ROM exercises (or Range Of Motion exercises) are recommended to help prevent or reduce the effects of stiffness; reduce the risk of injury and improve joint function. Getting a physical therapist as early as possible is recommended to assist you in completing the exercises as safely as possible. Try to do ROM exercises twice a day but do not continue if you feel strong or sharp pain. Follow your Doctor/Physiotherapist’s advice. Arthritis Action UK is a registered charity with a wealth of resources available. Even if you don’t suffer from Arthritis, these gentle exercises could help you regain some mobility in your joints.
Here are 5 NHS-recommended gentle exercises you can do at home. Don’t forget to speak to your GP or physiotherapist to see if it’s okay to do them.
This stretch is good for posture.
A. Sit upright and away from the back of the chair.
Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend arms
out to the side.
B. Gently push your chest forwards and up until
you feel a stretch across your chest.
Hold for five to 10 seconds and repeat five times.
This will strengthen the hips and thighs and improve flexibility.
A. Sit upright and away from the back of the chair.
Hold on to the sides of the chair.
B. Lift your left leg, with your knee bent, as far as
is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
Repeat with the opposite leg.
Do five lifts with each leg.
This will improve ankle flexibility and reduce blood clot risk.
A. Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
B. With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
C. Point toes back towards you.
Try two sets of five stretches with each foot.
This builds shoulder strength.
A. Sit upright, arms by your sides.
B. With palms forwards, raise both arms out and to the side and up as far as is comfortable.
C. Keep your shoulders down and arms straight throughout.
Breathe out as you raise your arms and breathe in as you lower them. Repeat five times.
This stretch is good for improving neck mobility and flexibility.
A. Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
B. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable.
Hold for five seconds and return to starting position.
C. Repeat going right.
Do three rotations on each side.
Many of our customers express the need to use the stairs normally when they’re able. That’s why we sell slimline straight and curved stairlifts that fold away to give you access to your stairs. This means, that if you’re feeling balanced and confident, you can still exercise those muscles by walking up and down stairs, with the stairlift there as support if you need it. Our lifts also come with two remotes, so don’t worry if you’ve made your way to the top of the stairs but would like some help getting down. Simply use the remote to call the lift up to you, and enjoy a smooth descent.
Yoga and Pilates are great exercises for those who want a little bit more of a stretch. You can start slowly and gently, and learn harder or more-complex poses to push yourself. Yoga has been proven to improve flexibility, aid in stress relief/anxiety, and can increase blood circulation. You can contact local groups or even leisure centres that may have some classes you can join.
When you have reduced mobility, sometimes it can feel like you’re losing a little bit of independence. Accepting help is the best thing you can do, however, you can still be independent in the home.
Clear walkways and tripping hazards
Make sure your walkways at home are clear of items and debris. A stray bag, a shoe or a newspaper could cause a tripping hazard which can be very serious, especially if you have frail bones.
If you have pets, they mean well but can sometimes get under your feet. Try to train your pets to lie down when you need to walk around or be aware of their presence if they tend to follow you a lot. It’s very common to trip over a hungry cat or a dog following you into the kitchen!
Consider removing decorative rugs in the home. It is common for the edges to turn up or wrinkle in the middle which can easily cause a fall. If you have wooden flooring, make sure you wear shoes/house shoes with grip, or socks with a grip on the bottom. If you have multiple types of flooring (for example from wooden to carpet) or multiple types of carpet, make sure the transition is smooth. Be aware of carpet grips and wooden floor saddles as they can be raised, especially between rooms.
Making the home disability-friendly
Walkers, Rollators and Zimmers offer support when walking outside or in the home. Be sure to choose one to suit, as bulkier frames can sometimes not be as helpful in a smaller home with narrower walkways. Keeping walkways free of clutter is paramount to preventing unnecessary falls and accidents.
If you only have one upstairs bathroom, we naturally need to traverse the stairs multiple times a day. If you’re uncomfortable or unsteady on your feet, installing a stairlift will allow you to continue to use your stairs as normal without bringing your bedroom or your bathroom downstairs to you. This also means you can stay in your long-term property without having to downsize or move into a bungalow or social housing (unless you want to, of course!).
Superglide Stairlifts does a range of stairlifts to suit even the most unusual staircase. Straight stairlifts can be installed as quickly as a day after receiving your measurements, and most of our straight installs are done within a week. If you need a curved stairlift, no problem! We can send one of our engineers out to measure your staircase for you and purchase a bespoke curved rail which can even take you from your bedroom down to the ground floor and park you in the hallway! The possibilities of a curved stairlift are endless.
These are just a few tips on how to increase mobility in the home, but the more steps you take, the safer you can stay!