Weights on floor

Getting to The Heart of It: Moving You to Better Health

Regular movement is essential to reducing the risk of heart disease and improving longevity. However, lack of mobility or health conditions keep people from engaging in active lifestyles and exercise.

Mobility is the ability to control the arms and legs through their full range of motion, and it can sometimes be confused for stretching. Although stretching and flexibility are both aspects of mobility, mobility has a direct functional effect on movement. If the body isn’t mobile, it can’t move freely.

If you have restricted movement, a disability, illness, breathing challenges, or a weight problem, you may think your health condition makes exercise impossible. If you are concerned about balance or falling, you may be hesitant to engage in physical activity or movement associated with daily living.

Mobility is the key to ease of movement. Mobility enables you to initiate, control, or sustain active movements of the body to perform motor tasks. 1

Exercise Options To Improve Mobility and Heart Health

Regardless of physical condition, age, or whether you have exercised your whole life or not at all, movement is inherent to your DNA. There are plenty of creative ways to overcome mobility obstacles and reap all the physical, social, emotional, and mental benefits of daily movement and regular exercise.

1. Cardiovascular activities include any movement that elevates heart rate and gets blood pumping. Popular options include:

  • Walking
  • Tennis
  • Pickleball
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Court Sport
  • Cycling
  • Gardening
  • Group Fitness Classes

Aquatic classes and lap swimming in a pool provide joint-friendly support. Many communities maintain high temperature therapy pools which provide an excellent exercise environment for anyone with mobility, joint, or muscle concerns.

2. Strength training uses one’s own body weight or resistance equipment (weights, machines, resistance bands, kettlebells or tubing) to promote strength and stability. If there is a limitation in the upper body, choose lower body exercises. If there is a limitation in the lower body, choose upper body exercises.

3. Flexibility includes movement patterns that require the joints to move through full range of motion. Good flexibility improves mobility as well as reduces pain, stiffness, and risk of injury. Even with limited range of motion in one area of the body, you can still invite gentle movement into the region and maintain mobility and flexibility elsewhere. A stretch routine is a great way to start or end the day.

Improving your range of mobility will allow you to more effectively do what you want to do when you want to do it and reduce your risk of injury. Engaging in daily movement and exercise can help you prevent chronic illnesses and experience a more vibrant life.

Sources:

        1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=yZc6DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=mobility+definition+exercise+science&ots=Nep7H2jERg&sig=gpCtWGS_fTmLL-cGZWJgMdXdG90#v=onepage&q=mobility%20definition%20exercise%20science&f=false
        2. https://arcsdsu.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/importance-of-mobility-for-strength-training/
        3. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/10/22/low-intensity-high-frequency-movement.aspx
        4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197457217302057

Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

About the Writer

Kelley Rakow, Health and Lifestyle Coach

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