It’s a myth that we have to lose our flexibility as we age. No matter where you are starting from you can improve your range of motion and reap the benefits of flexibility after 50.
Will you be able to do a hand stand next week? Probably not. It would be cool…but nope.
I’m not saying that we aren’t naturally more flexible in our teens and twenties. There are a lot of scientific reasons for that, like the diminishing lubrication fluid and loss of cartilage in our joints. But we can get more flexible at any age if we make time for it.
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1. Flexible People Tend to Have Fewer Injuries:
Flexibility allows the body to withstand more stress and gain strength. Stretching and strengthening the under-active muscles allows for better balance during activity and this leads to less injuries.
Have you ever noticed that some seniors tend to start shuffling as they get older? There are a variety of reasons for this (injury, illness, imbalance) but the number one reason for this shuffle is having tight hip flexors.
As we age the hip flexor muscles that attach from our torso to our legs shorten and tighten. This limits the range of motion and causes shuffling.
Women tend to have more hip injuries then men by far. In fact, it can cause major upset in your day to day life. So even if you are only in your forties or fifties, it’s important to keep these muscles limber and strong now.
Keeping those hip flexors strong will also improve your love life but that is for another post.
2. Less Pain ~ One of the Best Benefits of Flexibility
Ugh. As we age we have more nagging muscle and joint pain.
Most women don’t like to complain about aging issues to our loved ones and we keep it bottled up. This can cause us to be irritable. After a while, it becomes the norm.
Staying strong and lengthening the tight muscles will result in less pain and you’ll feel like being more active.
I spend a lot of time writing on my laptop. If I don’t get up and stretch my hips and lower back scream in protest. This makes me less productive and irritable.
3. Better Posture
Muscular flexibility and a better range of motion aids the bodies ability to stand and sit straighter.
Strengthening and lengthening the muscles in your back and core will allow you to sit in more positions and avoid “hunching” over. Hunching and “tech neck” or what the used to call a dowagers hump can cause tremendous pain and make you appear much older than you are.
Want to look AND feel young? Stretch your back and neck often.Strengthen those muscles.
4. It Improves Balance ~ This is so Important!
If you are sitting or lying down to read this post, try this exercise right now.
Try to go from a sitting or lying down position to a standing position without using your arms.
Can you do it?
If not, your balance and muscle tone need some work. Don’t worry, a lot of people are in this predicament. Yoga has been proven to increase balance.
You don’t have to take my word for it. See what Reuters says about their study on this subject…
Even if you don’t want to read what they have to say, I can sum up the most important piece of their message:
Loss of balance can lead to falls later on and that means a loss of independence.
None of us want that.
5. Flexibility Improves Strength
The better your range of motion the stronger that you’ll become. Our muscles were meant to move and open and twist.
Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles have become the norm in the last few decades. We are more technologically advanced but less agile.
The stronger and more flexible you become the longer your “health span” will be. Maybe your “life span” too.
6. Improves Performance in Daily Activities
When you feel better, you are able to get more done. When you are stronger, you can move faster and for longer.
There is no down side to being more physically fit.
And, what this post is really trying to convey is that you don’t need a breakneck workout routine to improve your stamina. If your workout routine has been lacking…especially right now.
Why do people avoid Stretching?
- They think they don’t have enough time.
- It hurts.
- They have never been to a yoga class and don’t know where to start.
- They think they are more flexible than they are.
- Start with ten minutes if time is crunched. Or even Five minutes…
- If it’s been a while since you have done any stretching it might feel tight but it should never hurt.
Start slow and don’t push yourself. But keep at it.
- There are lots of great yoga videos for beginners on YouTube and Amazon prime for FREE!
If you don’t have a Prime Membership you can check out all of the benefits here.
- Try the exercise I mentioned in the post.
It’s easy to overlook small changes. You might not even notice them at all. When I look in the mirror I think I look the same way that I did 20 years ago.
Now, in reality I know this isn’t true because I have a camera. When I see a photo of myself, it doesn’t look like the same woman that I see in the mirror.
But I know it’s true…cameras don’t have anything to gain by lying.
If you think you are in great shape try getting up from a sitting or lying down position without using your arms….grunting and groaning are okay.
If you can do it..congrats! I am guessing that you already do some sort of stretching or exercising.
Now that you are going to get stretching, want to know which foods will keep your brain healthy?
Cheers for now Spring Chickens!