Healthy Aging – Flexibility

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Having good health is a valuable asset at any time of a person’s life, but it’s especially useful when we’re older. After all, once we’re in our retirement years, the overall fitness of our bodies has a greater influence on our ability to enjoy life than it does when we are in our early twenties. There are plenty of ways to keep your body and mind in tip-top condition, including eating well, exercising, and stretching your body. All of these things can help to improve a person’s flexibility, which in turn helps them to be at their most healthy best. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at flexibility, why it’s important when we’re aging, and how assisted stretching can help to loosen you if you’re beginning to feel a little stiff. 

 

Why Is Maintaining Flexibility Important? 

Maintaining your flexibility is an important part of healthy aging. As we get older, our body tends to be less flexible than it was when we were younger. When you’re in your twenties, your body’s elasticity is at its peak, but over the years, we lose it. We also have less bone density and muscle tone, which also impacts our flexibility. These are natural processes that should not cause concern, but they can impact your quality of life. It’s more difficult to live life to the fullest when you have tight shoulders, hips, neck, and spine. 

On average, a person will lose around 30% of their flexibility by the time they’re 70 years old. There are plenty of reasons why this happens. The tendons and ligaments around our joints tend to become more rigid, which in turn reduces the level of flexibility and movement of the joint. 

Introducing Assisted Stretching 

It’s normal to experience reduced flexibility when you’re older. As we mentioned above, it’s a natural process. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to accept that you won’t be as flexible as you’d like to be.

There are things you can do to keep your body loose. One of the most effective methods is to practice assisted stretching. What’s assisted stretching, we hear you ask? It’s all in the name — it’s deep stretching that you do with the assistance of a trained practitioner. They’ll work with you to understand your body, learn your goals, and to come up with a dedicated plan that’ll work for you.

It’s effective because it draws upon the expertise of a trained professional, which gives confidence that you’re stretching in a safe manner that will yield results. People that already engage in assisted stretching know its value; it’s one of those things that can really help to improve a person’s physical conditioning. 

The Benefits of Assisted Stretching

The main advantage of assisted stretching is that it helps you with something that many older people struggle with. It can be difficult to maintain mobility and flexibility as we get older because of our body’s natural deterioration. Once you make assisted stretching a part of your routine, you will be slowing down — and even reversing — these processes. So what kind of benefits can you expect? Let’s take a look.

Increase Your Flexibility 

Want to be more agile? It all comes down to flexibility. Flexibility is something that we have to work hard to maintain. People of all ages can experience tightness and rigidity, but they’re rarely set in stone. If we can stretch our bodies, then we’ll naturally begin to loosen up — and the effect that this has on your general wellbeing can be profound. At iFlex Stretch Studios, we utilize a special technique that helps to reprogram your muscles, with excellent results. 

Greater Range of Motion

Life’s easier to manage — and more enjoyable — when we have a good range of motion. Alas, that’s not something that we can rely on all our lives. The wear and tear that our bodies go under can cause muscles and joints to tighten up, which in turn impacts our motion ranges. When you make assisted stretching part of your routine, you’ll find that your muscles lengthen and your joints are better lubricated, which helps to give your motion range a boost. Whether you’re looking to improve your motion range or preserve it, give assisted stretching a try. 

Reduce Back Pain

Back pain is one of the more common ailments that impact older people. In most cases, back pain is caused by an arthritic condition called osteoarthritis, which affects more than 30% of people aged 65 and older. This can result in sciatica and also affect joints in the legs, feet, neck, and hips. 

It’s not possible to completely avoid osteoarthritis. However, there are things you can do that will reduce the symptoms of the condition, including assisted stretching. It helps to combat stiffness in the joints, which causes pain. It can be difficult to stretch these joints on your own, so many people with the condition find that it is useful to stretch with the assistance of a trained professional. 

Improve Your Posture

Poor posture affects people of all ages, especially today when so many people are hunched over a computer all day. But it’s a bigger issue for older people due to the reduction in water content in the connective tissues of our ligaments and tendons. Over time, this can lead to poor posture, which is defined by a curvature in the shoulders and a forward-leaning head. Stretching helps to loosen up tightness and develop strength in key areas, helping to improve posture. Assisted stretching can make improvements to posture even if a person has had it for years. It’s never too late to begin your journey towards standing tall once more!

Increase Your Blood Flow 

Your body needs effective blood flow in order to be at its best. There are plenty of ways to increase blood flow, including exercise, but for people that have flexibility issues, this is easier said than done. Stretching is a low-intensity activity but one that has been shown to increase blood flow if it’s done correctly. The result? With blood flowing around your body, you’ll find that soreness is reduced, you can recover more quickly from injuries and other issues, and that you have more energy. 

Greater Resilience 

A loose and lucid body is more stable and thus less likely to have injuries. Every year, a third of all adults experience falls, with millions of people requiring medical treatment following the fall. Stretching helps to minimize the risk of injury because it enhances stability and balance, making a fall less likely. A person that is flexible in their hamstrings, lower back, and quadriceps will be less likely to fall compared with someone who is tight in these areas. 

All-Around Health: The Key To Living Well

We all know that health is important. But many of us don’t fully realize just how important it is. Whether you’re 25 or 75, having tip-top health is a key component of living well. There are many components to being healthy, including flexibility. If you can give your flexibility a boost and improve other areas of your health, you can expect the following benefits.

Happier State of Mind

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Studies have shown that movement can help the body produce endorphins and serotonin, two chemicals that promote happiness and wellbeing. When you invest in your health, you’ll be investing in your happiness. Your body will feel better at a chemical level, but it’ll also allow you to keep on doing the things that you’ve always enjoyed doing. 

Faster Recovery Time

It’s normal to experience illness and injuries from time to time. But the extent to which those illnesses and injuries impact your life will depend, in part, on the overall condition of your health. By working on your flexibility, you’ll be showing a commitment to your physical wellbeing, which in turn will reward you with faster recovery times from ailments. A strong and flexible body is also less likely to experience painful symptoms from the conditions that typically affect older people, such as back pain. You’ll feel good after your first assisted stretching session, but you’ll also find that it might just prevent you from experiencing pain in the future, too, especially if you make it a regular part of your routine. 

It’s Social

Humans are naturally social creatures, and that never leaves us, no matter how old we are. Indeed, when we’re older, it arguably becomes even more important. Studies have shown that people who live in the world’s happiest places (where they also live the longest) maintain strong social relations deep into old age. People who have reduced mobility and flexibility issues can often find it difficult to go out of their homes to socialize. Once your body is feeling good, you’ll be better able to get out and experience life to the fullest, no matter how old you are.

More Energy

You can’t do all the things that you want to do if you don’t have energy. Maintaining your health is a key part of keeping your energy levels high. By loosening up your body, you’ll be reducing the aches and pains that can be a physical and mental drain on your body, giving you the condition you need to go out there and live your best life. 

Additional Ways To Stay Healthy

Assisted stretching will go a long way towards keeping your body in excellent condition. But for the best results, look at combining your sessions with other health-boosting tips and tricks. 

Eating reasonably sized plates of healthy food will give your body the nutrients it needs to be at its brilliant best. It’s best to avoid processed and packaged foods, which in many cases do more harm than good. If you’re eating fresh meals made with healthy ingredients, plus snacking on superfoods such as blueberries, you’ll be turbocharging the benefits you get from assisted stretching.

Exercise can also be extremely beneficial. If you’re struggling with your flexibility currently, then you may want to wait until you’ve had a few sessions and you’ve begun to feel the benefits of having a more flexible body. If your primary healthcare practitioner says it’s OK, then you may consider going for brisk walks or doing light weight resistance exercises. Everyone has their own level of what they can achieve, but no matter what your level is, you’ll find that it has a positive impact. Studies have shown that older cells — like those found in older people — respond more strongly to exercise than younger cells — like those found in young people — too, so don’t worry if you’ve never made exercise part of your routine before; it is never too late to start! 

You can also improve your all-around health by keeping your mind sharp. This is something that exercise and movement can help with, but you may also consider getting a creative project underway, trying meditation, and playing puzzle games. Between those activities and your physical improvements, you’ll feel better than ever. 

Conclusion

You can’t fight getting older, and it’s normal that your body won’t stay in as good a condition as when you were in your twenties. But with that being said, it’s important to remember that you’re not at the mercy of the natural aging process. With assisted stretching, you can combat the common conditions that affect people of retirement age. Make it a regular part of your routine, and it won’t be long before you begin to feel the benefits. 

The main takeaways:

 

  • Assisted stretching improves your flexibility and mobility.
  • It enhances your energy and keeps your body in tip-top condition.
  • It boosts your stability and reduces the likelihood of injuries and pain. 

If you’re ready to get started, be sure to book a session with us here at iFlex Stretch Studios. We have more than 400 locations across the country and offer a $29 new client special, so you can see what we have to offer without breaking the bank. Our team of stretch therapists look forward to working with you.

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