Staying flexible and healthy as you age

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Do you typically really feel stiff and tight? Notice frequent aches and pains? There’s most likely an excellent purpose. “As we start to get older, we lose fluid and flexibility in our joints and in our muscles,” says Lynn Millar, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). These results of getting older — together with circumstances such as arthritis, years of hunching over a pc or the repetitive actions of gardening — could make you much less flexible and scale back your vary of movement.

In addition to inflicting back pain and different each day aches, this inflexibility could make it tougher to do on a regular basis duties, such as selecting up a fork that has dropped to the ground or turning your neck to look over your shoulder whereas you’re driving. That lack of flexibility additionally reduces your capacity to interact in cardiovascular and energy workouts, says Michael Rogers, analysis director for the Center for Physical Activity and Aging at Wichita State University.

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Regular stretching feels good, is simple to do and can go a good distance in serving to to maintain you flexible, which is why the ACSM recommends doing it two or thrice every week, and extra if attainable. Here’s how.

If you’re already concerned in bodily exercise a number of instances every week, Carol Garber, a previous president and fellow of the ACSM, recommends including in stretching after your stroll or train program, as soon as muscle mass are already warmed up.

Not feeling match? Stretching could also be particularly useful at stopping accidents in people who find themselves sedentary, Garber says.

To discover a stretching program, you can verify your area people middle or fitness center. But relying in your stage of health, choices at these locations might or will not be proper for you. You also can try the stretching routines for older adults on the National Institute on Aging’s YouTube channel. Another choice: Ask your physician about seeing a bodily therapist who can educate you a customized routine. A health coach might do the identical.

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And if you want to mix stretching with different workouts, contemplate yoga or tai chi, Millar says. “These are really beneficial if somebody is having problems doing it on their own, likes group activities, or wants something holistic with a little strength, a little balance, flexibility and maybe some mental health,” she says.

Although all of us have completely different areas of tightness, most individuals can profit from a flexibility increase within the hamstrings, shoulders and neck, Rogers says. These stretches, finished thrice on both sides for 10 to 60 seconds, can loosen them up:

Hamstrings: Sit on the sting of a chair and lengthen your proper leg straight out, heel on the ground. Keeping your again straight, lean ahead and attain towards your proper foot along with your proper hand. Once you really feel a stretch in your hamstrings, cease and maintain.

Shoulders: While standing, maintain a small towel in your proper hand and throw it over your proper shoulder. Reach your left hand behind your again to seize the underside of the towel. Pull down on the towel along with your left hand till you really feel pressure in your proper shoulder and higher arm.

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Neck: While seated along with your backbone straight, shoulders again and toes flat on the ground, flip your head to at least one aspect, attempting to stretch your chin towards your shoulder. Hold when you really feel the stretch.

Giving your muscle mass a radical stretch can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes (though extra time is healthier).

You’ll wish to concentrate on one space at a time — your shoulder, for instance — and stretch till you really feel some pressure however no ache. The common recommendation is to then maintain the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. But older adults might profit from staying in place for as much as 60 seconds, in accordance with the ACSM. To get probably the most out of your session, repeat every stretch a number of instances.

And notice: If you have restricted mobility or different bodily points, you can do many stretches from a seated or standing place, and use a secure chair to assist your self rise up and down as wanted.

Copyright 2022, Consumer Reports Inc.

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