Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Flexibility As You Age.


I am one of those people who couldn't touch their toes, even as a teenager and I still have problems with it.  In fact, I took ballet but couldn't even manage a half way decent turn out. I decided I need to do something about it because most people loose some flexibility as they get older.

It is a fact that people lose flexibility as they age which can lead to a decrease in mobility.  Part of it is that we lose water from our intervertebral discs and in our connective tissues.  We also experience increased stiffness in our joints, and a decrease in the elasticity in muscles and tendons.  

Unfortunately, as people begin to lose flexibility, they often cut back on doing certain things which can in turn decrease their flexibility.  It's the old "use it or lose it" in that if we don't work on keeping our muscles and bodies stretched, we'll experience decreased flexibility. 

One way to slow down the lose of flexibility is to stay active.  otherwise, we might experience a slower walking speed, shorter walking steps, possible back pain, and the increased possibility of falling. It has been found that step length is extremely important.  The bigger the distance between your legs, the better your balance which decreases the possibility of falling.

There are things people can do to maintain a certain amount of flexibility.  Although it is recommended that people in their 20's and 30's begin regular dynamic and static stretching routines to preserve flexibility, one can begin doing both types of stretching at any age.  If you start stretching routines after being off for a while, go slowly, take your time, and most of all, listen to your body.  

One should warm up for five to ten minutes before beginning to stretch.  When stretching, make sure all movements are slow and gentle rather than bouncing or forcing a stretch.  It is ok to have legs and arms straight but do not lock your joints or there could be some damage.  Breath slowly and naturally through all the movements.  Try to stretch for 10 to 15 minutes at least three times a week. You need the time in-between to give your body a chance to recover. 

So by improving flexibility, it improves a person's ability to perform physical activities every day while decreasing the possibility of injury,  helps increase balance and decreases chronic pain.  Flexibility also improves your workouts, helps your posture, and makes people look younger. 

Remember, it doesn't take much to improve your flexibility.  Rather than sitting down all the time, get up and move around, exercise, dance, garden, and don't let the television or your cell phones, or digital devices take over your life.  Take yoga, pilates, and stretch, stretch, stretch.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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