The aging process
As older adults age, the factors leading to limited mobility increase.
Impaired strength and loss of balance.
Unfortunately, this can create a cause and effect scenario. If you lack power in your legs, you move less and have less blood circulating for nutrients to reach all throughout your body. This can make you even weaker, so you move less and less. If you’re less active, you also lose confidence in your balance and become afraid of falling, which tends to limit your mobility further.
Once again, this can lead to you becoming more inactive and cutting off vital circulation to your body. Your muscles get weaker and limit your mobility even more. Some illnesses will also cause a loss of balance, further impeding your ability to stay active. Arthritis, peripheral artery disease, and diabetes are common illnesses that can cause you to become more inactive.
Low physical activity threshold.
This is often due to struggling with illness, impaired strength, and loss of balance. It all goes back to the chicken or the egg theory. The question is, which came first as each factor can worsen another. The less you move, the more of a chance that your immobility will progress until you find yourself doing less and less. This is why it’s so critical to address the causes of your limited mobility so that you can find ways to become more active again.
Older adults who are obese tend to be less active, which can only compound the weight gain.
Recent illness or hospitalization.
An acute illness or condition, such as a fall or pneumonia, can lead to a long period of inactivity. It might take a while to get your strength and functioning back and feel confident that your body is stronger.
Other factors can also lead to limited mobility as you get older. You may be unable to drive and get out less. This can have a profound impact on your quality of life as well as your outlook. The factors surrounding reduced mobility or loss of balance issues have a cascading effect.
The important thing is to acknowledge that it’s happening, share your concerns with family members and your physician, and find ways to improve your balance and mobility.