If your ability to move comfortably isn’t what it used to be, a loss of flexibility might be the culprit. Let’s talk about why this common issue affects so many seniors, and what you can do about it. Why is flexibility important for seniors?
Why Is Flexibility Important for Seniors?
Flexibility refers to your body’s ability to move through its full range of motion without pain or difficulty. Why is flexibility important? Think about how your body bends and stretches every day. Do your knees move easily when you need to get up from a chair? Are you able to raise your arms above your head to reach things on higher shelves? Can you easily tie your shoelaces or brush your hair? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you aren’t alone. Many seniors report issues with flexibility.
Poor flexibility is often caused by a lack of physical activity. Most seniors live more sedentary lifestyles than they did in their youth. If you do not move your body regularly, that lack of movement will affect your flexibility as your tendons stiffen and your muscles degenerate from lack of use. Joint stiffness, osteoporosis, and other aspects of the natural aging process can compound these issues further.
While some loss of flexibility is a natural part of aging, there are lots of things seniors can do to maintain a healthy range of motion. Aging can make a loss of flexibility more severe than it would be otherwise, but seniors can lessen and even reverse those losses with the right training and exercise.
Flexibility Leads to Independence
Why is flexibility important for independent seniors? Consider the daily tasks listed above, like tying your shoelaces and brushing your hair. Odds are you didn’t think twice about being able to do them when you were younger, but perhaps now they’re a bit of a struggle. Focusing on flexibility will help you stay physically healthy enough to continue enjoying your life without compromise.
Flexibility Keeps You Safe
If staying independent wasn’t enough to motivate you to take flexibility seriously, consider the fact that one out of every three seniors experience a significant fall every year. If your ankles and hips aren’t flexible, your body will struggle to find and maintain balance, and it won’t be able to correct itself as easily when you stumble. Flexibility training can help seniors avoid the falls that lead to serious injuries.
Flexibility Makes Your Body Feel Better
Aside from avoiding falls, focusing on flexibility can help you avoid those daily aches and pains that make life difficult. Exercises that improve flexibility will give you better blood circulation and build muscle in areas that help support your body, making movement easier. Flexibility can also improve your posture, which reduces strain on your spine and core muscles and eases related pains. Those nagging back aches you have every morning might become a thing of the past!
How Can I Improve My Flexibility?
Most doctors agree that seniors who are concerned with flexibility should start by focusing on stretching and strength training exercises. However, before you start adding new stretches and exercises to your daily routine, we encourage you to check in with your doctor, a physical therapist, or another healthcare professional. They can offer advice regarding what will be most effective for your specific concerns and help you avoid accidental injuries. Work with your doctor or a physical therapist to create your routine and stick to it. With a little effort and patience, you’ll soon enjoy the benefits.
Why is flexibility important for seniors? It allows them to maintain their independence, avoid falls and injuries, and improve their overall quality of life. Give yourself the golden years you deserve by taking flexibility seriously. You’ll be glad you did!
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