We can’t help it. We all get old. However, we can do things that help us get older a little more gracefully. Stretching is one of those things. Flexibility is something we all take for granted. Sure, we might have stretched a little when we were getting ready to do some sort of physical activity when we were younger, but we’ve greatly underestimated its importance as we’ve gotten older.
How we work, play, sit, and sleep all affect our muscles. Some muscles have become weaker and lengthened over time. Others have picked up the slack for the lazy muscles and simply don’t know how to give up the control. Others are used to being in a shortened state and don’t want to lengthen, leaving the muscles feeling tight. As we get older, it just gets worse. As our bad habits set in, it gets that much harder to gain back any of the flexibility that we once had. We can’t seem to find the time. We make excuses. We don’t think of stretching as part of a work out even thought it could be the work out in its own right. It’s time to create a new habit. S-t-r-e-t-c-h….
Don’t know where to start? Visit your local gym and find a personal trainer to give you a fitness assessment that can show you what compensations you have. This will give you a starting point so that you know which muscles are overactive and under active and which stretches and exercises you can do to stretch and strengthen these muscles. Some gyms even offer cheaper introductory sessions so you can work with a trainer until you feel comfortable doing the stretches and exercises on your own.
Loss of mobility and range of motion is just around the corner for those who ignore the looming inevitability of getting older and becoming more sedentary. It’s important to get started right away with a program.