Why Loss of Body Flexibility Matters So Much
By Sandy Schroeder
If you are stiff when you get up in the morning, or have trouble reaching the top shelf, you may be experiencing a loss of flexibility. As we keep up with daily routines, and move through the years, the body changes.
Loss of flexibility may not seem like a big deal, but it is. We do not expect to be as limber as we were as a teen, but flexibility can make a big difference in every stage of life. Every day we tackle a ton of tasks that require bending, stretching and stooping. When muscles shorten and tighten, we are at risk for muscle damage, strain, pain or falls. Loss of flexibility happens gradually, but you can start to reverse the process any time.
Talk with your chiropractor or doctor about stretching exercises and then consider starting a regular routine. The more frequently the muscles are stretched the longer and flexible they will become. Expect results like these.
- Lessen joint and muscle pain
- Increase range of motion
- Avoid muscle and joint injury
- Improve balance to avoid falls
- Improve posture
How to Begin
Stretch regularly - Try to stretch every day, or at least three or four times a week. Work with an instructor when you start. Concentrate on the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, quadriceps in the thighs, and the muscles of the neck, shoulders and lower back.
Define flexibility and stretching - WebMD points out stretching is a form of exercise. Flexibility is range of motion for each joint which involves the ligaments and tendons. As you stretch you can improve flexibility.
Know what your flexibility is - Tight or stiff muscles can affect range of motion. Injuries, chronic pain and poor posture can impact flexibility. Work with your doctor, chiropractor and instructors to know where your body is and how you can gradually improve its range of motion.
Always warm up before stretching - Warming up supplies tissues with the blood and oxygen to make them more pliable to avoid injuring muscle fibers.
Use dynamic stretches - Moving a joint through its available range of motion without holding a position is dynamic stretching. You might lift your knees, roll your shoulders or sweep your arms out and up to get ready for stretching,
Use static stretches gradually - Never bounce, but hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds. If there is pain, stop and check with your doctor. For best results, begin gradually and try to maintain a daily routine.
As you regain flexibility, you may be surprised and pleased to be more limber again. Keep going!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz.