FLEXIBILITY: Is it difficult to turn your head when backing out of a parking spot? Do you notice that it is getting harder to bend down to tie your shoes? In my clinical practice, I often here patients communicate their loss of flexibility and say things like “oh, I’m just getting older”! What is important to understand is that, yes, flexibility will decrease with age, BUT, it is something we can work on and maintain. A few things that contribute to the loss of flexibility include genetic predisposition, loss of elasticity in the soft tissue, gender, and body type but the most important factor related to flexibility boils down to use of joints or exercise itself. Joints were meant to be used in a full-range of motion. Use it or lose it.
Stretching improves circulation to our arms and legs, muscle control, increases sports performance and escalates your balance and coordination. Yep, you heard that right, stretching. Stretch those muscles every day! Shoulders, knees, spine and ankles are a few joints to focus on, as they are involved in many movements of the body. If you are someone that does better in a class atmosphere, find a gentle yoga class, tai chi or pilates to name a few, as these will get you moving and under the care of an instructor who can make sure you are doing the moves safely. Not only is flexibility important to maintain healthy joints and avoid injury but new research is showing a correlation with trunk flexibility and arterial stiffness, which is a risk indicator to higher mortality rates. Move it or lose it!