Flexibility is an essential component of good health and wellness and is especially important for the senior population. Flexibility enables the unrestricted movement with fluidity. As we age, decreased activity levels can cause muscles and surrounding tissue to become tighter. By becoming more active and doing the proper exercises and movements, one can regain flexibility. Even if you start to feel yourself losing flexibility at a certain point, it is essential to know that you CAN regain flexibility at ANY age
The most important thing to remember is to USE IT OR LOSE IT! That means, get moving! Activities that work the whole body such as walking, swimming, golfing, gardening, dancing, and hiking are all beneficial because muscles are moving in functional patterns
Activities for regaining flexibility:
- Tai chi
- Foam rolling
Specific to stretching, it is recommended that you complete each stretch for around 30 – 60 seconds. It is also recommended to stretch at least 2-3 times a week, with 4-5 times a week being the most ideal. Do not stretch an injured muscle – halt stretching if you feel pain.
Stretching leads to decreased stress and inflammation and less tension, which means greater flexibility and better movement. Most importantly, stretching and having flexibility lead to less pain and improved happiness.