Mind, mood and mobility

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Mobility and Independence, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, will help you maintain your mobility and safeguard your independence. It will give you recommendations for exercise, diet, preventive care, and lifestyle choices that will keep you stronger and steadier with fewer aches and more stamina. Plus, you’ll get advice for aging in place, adapting and fall-proofing your home, choosing services, and more.

Often, a health setback—like a fall or arthritis pain—can sap people's confidence or their willingness to venture outside the house. You may give up driving or stop taking walks. Eventually, you mostly stay home, and your movements become slower, stiffer, and more halting. This loss of mobility can further worsen health problems. It can also diminish your connections with friends and loved ones and your engagement in activities you enjoy. It can affect your mood, leading to depression. You might stop following a daily schedule and fall into poor dietary habits, either gaining weight that further hinders movement, or eating too little and losing energy and resilience.

This cycle of reduced mobility, poor psychological health, and physical deterioration can stem from a life change—such as the death of a spouse—as much as from a health problem. Your mind, mood, and mobility are intrinsically linked. That's why maintaining your emotional health and mental engagement are so important for healthy aging.

If your actual mobility does not match your physical capabilities, it's important to ask why. Is depression, loneliness, anxiety, or fear slowing you down? Are you struggling with retirement or the death of a loved one? Consider talking about these issues with your doctor, a mental health professional, or a trusted friend.

Think about what motivates you to move—what are your reasons to get up in the morning? It might be family, social connections, volunteer work, shopping, cultural experiences, enjoying nature, or walking a dog. Build more of these motivating experiences into your life to maintain your emotional and physical health. Establish some daily and weekly routines; following a schedule helps you stay active even when your mood or motivation flags. 

Ref# Harvard Medical School


 Mind, mood and mobility