Flexibility & Aging

Why Flexibility becomes more important as we age.

Our flexibility, balance, endurance and strength declines with age. Flexibility is often overlooked compared to more intense and result-driven exercises. It’s critical as it plays an important role in allowing us to continue an independent lifestyle and continue with our daily activities.

As we age, the physical changes that occur naturally in our bodies can keep us from doing what we enjoy. Muscles gradually shrink and the fibers decrease. Tendons start to lose their water content, making our bodies stiff and unable to tolerate stress. Unless we work to keep these parts of our body strong as we age, our flexibility lessens.

Developing and maintaining our flexibility as we age can also be beneficial by reducing the risk of injury, maintaining good balance, and having a better range of motion. Gaining more flexibility makes us feel stronger and gives us the range of motion to let our muscles work more efficiently.

Flexibility exercises are vital to aging. Flexibility may be the most important physical quality when it comes to accomplishing day-to-day activities. Going for a walk or running is good, but having difficulty bending down to tie your shoes or getting up from a sitting position can limit your desire for certain activities. The rewards of staying flexible has many benefits.

Staying Flexibile can:

1. Help in Accomplishing Daily Activities
From reaching something on the top shelf in the kitchen,tying your shoes, folding laundry, standing for longer periods of time, bending down,looking over your shoulder,flexibility allows us to accomplish our everyday tasks and chores.

2. Strengthen Posture & Increase Circulation
When our muscles are limber, our bodies can relax. It’s hard to keep good posture if our back, neck, chest and shoulder muscles are stiff and sore. Flexibility improves posture, which in turn helps to keep our spine and hips properly aligned and allows for better lung capacity and breathing, which contributes to better circulation.

3. Reduces Stress & Pain Relief
Exercises for flexibility, such as yoga, or just simple stretching, are designed to help relieve stress by increasing deep breathing and loosening our muscles. Staying flexible and limber may help relieve the pain we feel when doing physical activities.

4. Prevent Injuries
Flexibility in the muscles and tendons surrounding your joints can determine the end result of an injury. When muscles are stiff, your body can’t move as easily.Limber muscles can be the difference between a bruise and a fractured hip.

5. Improve Your Balance
When muscles and joints are flexible, it’s much easier to keep your balance. A limber body helps you control your muscles, keep you upright even if you trip or slide. When muscles are tight, they don’t adjust easily to sudden changes of position.

Remember — if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Reference: Journal of Aging Research  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703899/