Think back twenty, fifteen, even ten years. Were you stronger? Faster? Chances are, the answer is yes. But have you ever considered how your flexibility has changed? Can you still touch your toes? Maybe you’ve noticed your range of motion has decreased.
As we age, muscles, tendons, and ligaments begin to tighten and shorten. Unfortunately, this adds to the look of aging, as poor posture and restricted movement set in. It also adds to our risk of injury and decreases our ability to complete many tasks of daily living. After years of chasing children, juggling careers, sitting uncomfortably in front of computer screens, and relishing in any number of hobbies hunched over our workspaces, it’s no wonder our bodies feel (and show) the results as we age.
But there’s good news! Even as you age, lost flexibility can be regained and you may even find yourself with more range of motion than you had when you were younger. With a little work and determination, you can rewrite your fitness fate to include the flexibility and fluidity that will keep you looking and feeling good as you age.
Your most valuable player in the flexibility game? Stretching. As you stretch, muscles and tendons lengthen, increasing your flexibility and warding off injuries and pain. Increased flexibility helps you achieve your most fit self, and we all know this helps decrease all types of age-related and genetic health issues.
Stretching opens up our range of motion and helps correct poor posture as muscles lengthen and bodies return to their proper alignment. This contributes to a more efficient and safe workout. When your body is limber, it performs better.
Studies have found that stretching may leave an even more positive impact on your aging body. Your heart and arteries may be feeling the love. Blood circulation increases. And if all this isn’t convincing enough, stretching also benefits the mood. As stress decreases in both the mind and muscles, you’ll find yourself with a better outlook and a healthier body.
So now that we’ve convinced you that stretching is a must, what’s the best way? There are dozens of questions. What types of stretches should I do? How many? How long should I hold them? When is the best time to stretch?
There are a few general guidelines you can follow. Avoid pain while stretching. You want to feel the burn, but not pain in your joint. Don’t push yourself too hard. Remember to breathe steadily. You should be relaxed and in control of your stretch throughout the entire process.
Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all plan. The truth is, like all exercise, your stretching routine should consist of what works best for you. Try different stretches and techniques and stick with what makes you most comfortable and meets your specific needs. Remember, the goal is to maintain movement and mobility, not be a human pretzel.
Put yourself on a schedule and run through your stretches a few times a week starting out. Check out how Flashy Fit works stretching into your routine – we’ve got you covered on those, too! Sign up now and see the difference mobility can make in your life!