Aging is an unavoidable part of life. As time goes on, everyone, eventually, experiences wear and tear. However, what you do plays a huge role here. For instance, if you haven’t moved your body as much as you should and lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle, this wear and tear might happen more quickly than you’d like.
On the other hand, if you develop a well-rounded exercise routine as you age, you will likely maintain agility, flexibility, and strength well into your later years. So, let’s look into the topic of flexibility a bit closer. Why does flexibility matter? And how can you improve yours?
What is Flexibility? Why Is It Important?
Flexibility refers to the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion, without pain or restriction.
With age, you might notice your flexibility decrease. You wake up stiff and achy in the morning, and may have balance issues. Maybe this prevents you from moving throughout your day. Thus, your flexibility takes even more of a hit.
But why does flexibility matter in the first place? “Optimal flexibility increases the efficiency of movement. In other words, good flexibility means that it takes less effort or energy to perform certain movements, such as standing from your chair or bending over to pick something up off of the ground.” says Dr Evelyn Mora, owner of Healers of Motion Physical Therapy in Pembroke Pines, FL.
In fact, increasing your flexibility might make you feel stronger, simply because your muscles are able to work more efficiently. In turn, you’re able to participate in the activities or sports you enjoy, no matter your age.
Additionally, improved flexibility is associated with the following benefits:
● Reduced risk of injuries.
● Improved balance.
● Improved posture (which prevents hunching or rounding of the upper back).
● Decreased chronic pain.
● Improved ability to move and exercise.
How to Improve Your Flexibility
If you’re struggling with decreased flexibility, don’t panic. There are many ways you can work toward improving your flexibility and increasing your quality of life. At Healers of Motion Physical Therapy, we even have a few tips to help you out.
Tip #1: Stretch Daily.
A few minutes of stretching a day can keep the doctor away. Research even shows how a six-week stretching program has the ability to improve function in older adults.
Additionally, stretching is something that can be performed anywhere and anytime. The other good news is that it doesn’t have to eat up a ton of your time. Even just five minutes a day can help improve or maintain flexibility.
When it comes to stretching, you’ll want to perform static stretches (stretches that you hold for 20-30 seconds at a time) and dynamic stretches (stretches that involve moving your joints through their full range of motion, such as arm circles).
When building a daily stretching routine, it’s also important to ensure that you gradually build. Try a couple of stretches to start and add more every few weeks.
Another quick note here: Only stretch to the point before pain. If pain occurs, you’ve gone too far.
Tip #2: Consider Foam Rolling.
Foam rolling is an excellent addition to a flexibility routine. A foam roller helps release muscular tension, increasing your flexibility and mobility. They are also very affordable, costing around $10.
Tip #3: Participate in Regular Movement.
The human body thrives with regular exercise, and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Regular exercise could involve walking each day or performing resistance training for 30 minutes three times a week. The goal is to find something you enjoy and that you can stick with.
Need More Help? Book Your Physical Therapy Appointment Today!
At Healers of Motion Physical Therapy, Dr Evelyn Mora can help you determine what you should be doing to improve your flexibility. Our team will work with you to achieve your goals and get you back to feeling your best. After all, age is just a number. Taking care of your body can help you age gracefully and without pain. Contact us at 954-861-0252 to schedule your appointment today. We are also in network with Medicare, and are more than happy to help get you feeling flexible and healthy today!