3 Ways to Stay Flexible as You Age
Did you know flexibility can decrease as much as 50% as you age? Over time, your muscles shrink and their fibers decrease. A sedentary lifestyle or repetitive activities such as leaning forward while you work on your computer can add to the shortening of your muscles. All of this leads to a loss of strength and a body that is stiff and unable to tolerate stress. Staying flexible helps you maintain your joints and stay active.
Loss of flexibility makes it harder to move, exercise and participate in daily activities; it also makes you susceptible to muscle strains. Just a few minutes of stretching each day will help you regain some of your flexibility, but not working on your flexibility at all, could mean that it completely disappears over time. Ideally, you should work to maintain a daily stretch routine that will help you stay flexible throughout your years. Stretching to improve flexibility not only helps you to stay active but results in better balance, good posture, less pain and improved exercise performance. When you stretch, you should gradually work to hold the stretch in position for 30 seconds; then release and rest before repeating. If you experience any type of pain you should stop and seek professional assistance.
3 Flexibility Techniques to Try:
Do a Daily Squat
The squat is great because you can take a momentary break from your computer or daily routine and do this exercise to work on flexibility. To do a proper squat, place your feet shoulder distance apart, stretch your arms and hands out in front of you and sit back like you are sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees stay behind your toes so you are leaning back and your head should be looking in front of you, not down. Go as deep (or low) as you can comfortably, and hold the position for the count of 30 (or you can start with a count of 15 and work your way up). Once you are more practiced at this stretch, you can repeat two to three times. The squat works on hip flexibility, lower back strength and balance.
Begin (or continue) Practicing Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates
All three of these are good practices that are designed to relieve stress and loosen your muscles. Classes are offered from beginning to advanced levels and provide stretches that work all the major areas of the body.
Exercise in Water
Forward or side lunges or one leg balances in the pool can be an excellent way to start your stretching routine. The buoyancy of water supports your body weight making it easier to move; hold the stretch and improve your flexibility.
To read more about maintaining flexibility as you age or for more exercises, visit: