The older we get, we may actually go further from the goal of “fitness” to the goal of “high functioning.”
In other words, as we’re aging gracefully, we’re that much more concerned about continuing to do what we want, like, and need to do.
How does flexibility help us with functional movements?
A muscle that can achieve its full range of motion will improve your ability to reach and/or bend. As an example, a shoulder with full range allows you to reach up to the top shelf of your kitchen cabinet. And bending fully from the hips allows you to safely put on your shoes.
Stretching and lengthening muscles can prevent injuries, back pain, and improve balance!
Tight muscles cause pain. Keeping muscles stretched usually helps aches and pains and sometimes reduces muscle cramping.
Stretching can alleviate back pain from prolonged sitting (and poor posture) and it can help with muscular imbalances – a common occurrence for people of all ages.
It’s important to mix stretching with strength training. What happens if you only work on strength? You may only be able to do the exercises that built the strength. But reaching and bending may be unattainable.
Here are some simple exercises to increase flexibility:
Keep in mind that without flexibility in your ankles, your balance will be extremely challenged.
Stand with feet hip distance and allow your body to sway side to side. Feel the inside and outside edges of your feet. Then sway forwards and back, feeling your weight shift from toes to heels.
Face a wall and place both hands on the wall. Step one leg behind you, keeping both knees facing forward. Bend the front knee and keep the back leg straightened, with both heels on the floor. Lean in towards the wall until you feel a good stretch in the calf of your straight leg behind you.
FULL BODY STRETCHES
Face the kitchen counter. Place your hands on the counter but place your feet further back so you are on a lean but can still keep your heels down. Pull hips back as your arms are stretched out straight making a right angle with your body.
Ahhhhh, now doesn’t stretching feel good?
Tell me… How often do YOU stretch?
After you try these stretches listed above, tell me how you feel in the comment box below!