Assuming that you are not suffering from any kind of illness affecting mobility, flexibility is one of the body’s first qualities that deteriorates as we age – and rapidly, too! Maintaining flexibility is not given enough importance in the world of health and fitness.
Flexibility is something you earn once and lasts for good – in fact, nothing in the body does! You have to constantly stretch out your muscles, ligaments, and tendons and maintain the mobility of your joints. In fact, it is safe to say that maintaining flexibility is a lifelong process that will require commitment but is worth the many benefits that come with it.
As you age, you may begin to take for granted the daily movements you make with your body. These movements, which were once things you never gave a second thought to, are the very same ones that could, one day, end up leaving you with a strained disc or an ache in your joints. We’re not talking heavy lifting here – we are talking about the menial tasks of getting out of bed, standing, and sitting. One day, you may find it difficult to pick something up off the ground or get up a flight of stairs or two. Maintaining flexibility helps keep the body mobile and loose, allowing your joints to absorb more shock and tension with your movements and preventing you from attaining injuries.
Aging comes with changes in your posture because of both changes within your body as well as changes in your weight. Fortunately, being flexible will help relieve strain from many of your muscles and can help you stand up straighter and sit up better. This is great for your health as well as for your appearance. You will definitely look more worn if your shoulders are sagging, and you’re supporting your lower back with your hands.
Reduce Stress and Improve Circulation
If your muscles are tense, your blood circulation is compromised which is not ideal for your body. Blood circulation is especially important for the transport of oxygen and nutrients to all the different parts of our bodies — the more flexible your muscles, the more they relax and allow these vital agents to flow throughout our bodies. You will enjoy better health in your joints and muscles by stretching them out. The relief of tension is also a relief of stress that your muscles hold onto, and better circulation will also help you enjoy a better mood. What better reason would anyone need to start stretching out their muscles, right?
How to Improve Your Flexibility
By far, the best method to maintain your flexibility is simply frequent stretching. No matter what your age is, incorporating stretching into your daily routine is essential. Even if you only manage to do it only once a day, it will make a huge difference. Don’t cut out your stretching if it isn’t part of your exercise routine – blend it into your workout and create a routine of your own! Stretching exercises are simple and don’t require fancy equipment. You could even perform some stretches while you watch your favorite TV program. If you’re really pinched for time, performing stretches on your biggest muscle groups may be best like the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and shoulders as they are most prone to soreness with age.
Commit to Something New
If you are up for it, try taking up yoga which offers interesting poses that you may never really try unless you begin taking yoga. Since yoga combines lengthening of the muscles with breathing exercises, you can enjoy improvements in your lung capacity as well as being able to gradually perform more complex poses which is very satisfying! Of course, yoga isn’t for everyone, but there are other options to explore like foam rolling which is essentially an effective yet gentle massage of the tense muscles in the body (fascia training) — you don’t really need much help to do it either. You can get plenty done with just a foam roller and a mat.
So, hop onto the bandwagon and get to lengthening those muscles. Your muscles will be able to perform their duties far better, and your joints will support your movements like never before. Cut the excuses – get stretching!