Two of the first things to decline as we age are our strength and flexibility. While you may think it’s a natural part of aging to no longer be able to get on the floor with the grandkids, consider this – the Dalai Lama is in his 80s and he can still easily sit on the ground in the lotus position. He is living proof that flexibility doesn’t have to disappear with age.
While inflexibility is detrimental to your health, hindering your ability to get around and making injuries more likely, fortunately, it’s entirely reversible. No matter how stiff you currently are, the following steps will have you making vast improvements in no time:
1. Get medical approval first
While your goals may be healthy, launching into a new fitness regime without professional guidance can end up doing more harm than good. Enlisting the services of an aged care physiotherapy practice will arm you with the knowledge you need along with the proper technique for each exercise you tackle. Once you’re confident, you can continue on your own and return periodically for evaluations and to take care of any aches and pains or concerns that may arise.
2. Start your day with dynamic stretching
After a full night’s sleep, even the most sprightly person’s body will be stiffer and less mobile than usual. For this reason, everyone, no matter what age you are, should be doing a simple morning warmup before starting the day. All you need to dedicate is five or ten minutes, and the moves do not have to be complex or taxing. In fact, the simpler they are the better to get mobility into your joints and blood flowing through your muscles. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are plenty of YouTube videos that can give you a safe and easy-to-follow guide.
3. Master your breath
Anyone who’s ever done yoga will understand how powerful the breath is in allowing you to push further with your flexibility. To use your breath to your advantage, the first and most important step is to not hold it while you exercise or stretch. Holding the breath restricts the flow of oxygen to your brain and body and tends to stiffen you up and make you less balanced. Instead, relax and take deep breaths as you work into each stretch. When you feel that you can gain a bit of range of motion in a stretch, take a breath and then let it out slowly as you push deeper.
4. Do what it takes to stay engaged
While YouTube videos are fun at first, you may reach a point where you become bored with them. This is a completely natural phenomenon that can occur with any activity you undertake. It’s human nature to develop a tolerance for things, and with tolerance comes boredom. When this happens, don’t ditch your healthy routine! Instead, switch it up. Try taking your morning warmup outside or joining a yoga class at your local gym. Check bulletin boards and social media groups for your local area to see whether there are any free classes available. You may be surprised to find free pilates, tai chi, yoga, meditation, and more.
We’re all exposed to that subtle social conditioning that tells us it’s normal to become weaker and less flexible as we age. Instead of conforming, be a rebel and create new healthier norms by taking daily steps to improve your strength and flexibility.
4 Ways To Reduce The Signs Of Aging
Stop The Aging: Keep Muscles and Brain Healthy
7 Anti-Aging Benefits of Red Light Therapy
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