Mobility – a reflection by Dr Kelly Wright

Last year I was very active. Due to the decrease in travel times, restrictions under covid in Melbourne leading to telehealth practices I was able to run. And run I did. I was training using a running program on my watch to improve my 10km pace. I was feeling fit and running at least 30 kilometres a week. The breathlessness I had previously felt when I hurried had gone and I was able to keep up with the four active boys at home.

Then I had an ankle injury and all exercise ceased. Excuses after excuses and life meant that my training 4 times a week fell to zero. I’m sure you know what I mean – it is too cold, it is about to rain, my shoes are not right, I need new socks etc. So now I can reflect on this immobility and lack of exercise. I can tell you first-hand the speed of decline in my fitness. I’m still active in everyday life but not exercising or pushing myself. I’m surprised just how quick my health has turned. My muscle strength declined, my feeling fit has gone and I feel sluggish. This immobility or decline in activity can affect all of us when we stop moving. It has made me see the importance of aiming to remain active. If you do not exercise 3 times a week for 30 mins at a time, then your health is suffering as a result and can do with a booster. Just starting slow but regularly will get you in a routine and then it is easier from there.

Just little bits of exercise a day will improve our breathing, heart rate and thus decreases heart disease. Exercise can help decrease falls risk, improve muscle strength and overall health. Exercise is good for our bone health, mental health, and cognitive health. Sleep quality improves and our ability to adapt to challenges and obstacles can increase thus decreasing our irritability and frustrations when things are out of our hands.

If you are having trouble to get motivated, then buddy up with a friend or family and exercise together. Set yourself a target whether that is the marathon months that Dementia Australia and Heart Foundation are holding or a local race that is coming in 1-2 months’ time. Maybe a target of walking a distance in a set time.

If you are lacking inspiration or where to start. We have a gym at the Malvern east rooms with a gerontology physiotherapist who can guide you in exercise, balance and strength. The team at Age Right exercise after work (when the restrictions in Melbourne allow) which helps us to be fit and healthy to serve you. The reception and admin team have inspired me to move again. They have completed the marathon month for Dementia Australia in September 2021 and are now in the midst of the marathon month for the Heart Foundation.