Why Do You Get Stiff And Lose Mobility
Important Daily Stretches. Counteract all that slouching, slumping and even ageing by improving your flexibility and range of motion. Plus, learn the benefits of stretching for older adults.
Here’s what happens: As we age, our muscle mass reduces, (sarcopenia). Also, our tendons and connective tissue become stiffer, and we lose muscle fibres. which means movements are not as quick as they once were. We become slower, and people often start having trouble with their shoulders, hips, ankles and spine.
Your Mobility And Ageing
Important Daily Stretches. Your mobility—which is to say, your capacity to move your bodies through their whole range of motion, starts to suffer. So then, that’s when it can become considerably harder to function the way you want to. And whether that’s carrying heavy groceries and putting them away or climbing up and down the stairs. Also perhaps bending over to lace up our shoes.
But while ageing is (regrettably) inevitable, problems with mobility don’t have to be. Hence, when it comes to mobility, it really is the use-it-or-lose-it paradigm: if you want to maintain mobility, you have to actively use your muscles and take your joints through their full range of motion. It certainly involves regular exercise and some strength training.
Important Daily Stretches. Regular stretching benefits seniors by improving flexibility, range of motion, and elasticity to relieve stiffness in the afflicted joints. So then, to increase your flexibility and mobility (basically, ability to get around) try to do these stretches every day, or as often as possible. Also, be sure to include a 5 to 10-minute warmup before you start, doing light exercises such as walking in place and arm circles to get your muscles and joints warm before stretching.
Neck Side Stretch
Important Daily Stretches. This neck side stretch will loosen any tension in your neck and the tops of your shoulders from sleeping in the wrong position for too long, or perhaps from not having enough pillow cushion at night.
- Start by sitting tall in a chair. Gently lean your head to one side, then the next, to warm up your neck.
- Now lift your right arm up and over your head, resting your palm gently on the left side.
- Gently pull your head to the right (very gently – in fact just placing your hand there may be enough weight to cause you to feel the stretch).
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch
Important Daily Stretches. Do you ever feel like you’re having a hard time standing up straight thanks to a stiff back? This is most likely due to sitting, which can make your shoulders and upper back round forward.
Over time, it can become hard to stand up straight, since the muscles are so used to being in a hunched position. This shoulder stretch will help loosen these muscles and improve spinal flexibility, so you can stand straight again. I have some difficulty with this one due to an old injury.
- Begin standing tall, arms by your sides. Now, reaching behind you with both hands, pull your shoulders back and clasp your fingers together.
- If you feel a stretch already, hold it here. If you can go further, push your clasped hands away from your lower back and gently arc backward.
- Return to standing tall, and repeat 5 times.
This back stretch is great for gaining greater mobility in your spine, and can even help with rounded shoulders. It’s also slightly dynamic, which will get your blood flowing.
- Start by standing tall, with your hands on your hips.
- Gently arch backward, looking up toward the ceiling. Hold for about three seconds, then return to standing.
- Repeat 10 times.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
This stretch is excellent for lengthening the quadriceps muscle that sits at the front of your thigh. This area can often become shortened and tight from sitting or hunching forward, which can lead to pain and a worsening of bad posture. If you cannot hold your foot use a belt, or towel to get control.
- Begin standing tall, holding onto the back of a chair or countertop with your free hand for balance.
- Slowly bend your right knee and grasp your foot. At this point, you might already feel a stretch through the front of your thigh.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
- If you’re having trouble reaching your foot with your hand, try using a belt strap or towel, as mentioned above.
Seated Hip Stretch
Tight hips can often keep you from easily doing common activities, such as getting out of a car or bathtub. This hip stretch will help increase the flexibility in your hips, allowing you a greater range of motion.
- Begin sitting tall in a sturdy chair.
- Cross your right leg over your left, letting the right ankle sit atop your left knee.
- Relax your right hip, letting gravity pull it toward the floor. You may already feel a stretch deep in your hip.
- To go further, gently press down on your right leg and the knee for a deeper stretch.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch legs.
The cat-cow pose is actually a dynamic yoga stretch, great for increasing mobility and flexibility in the spine.
- Begin on the floor on all fours. Make sure your hands are directly beneath your shoulders and your knees are directly beneath your hips. Use extra padding (small pillows, towels, etc.) for extra padding if your knees are sensitive).
- Once you’re in position, inhale, arching your spine and lifting your head and chest toward the ceiling. Hold for a breath.
- Now exhale while pulling in your stomach and dropping your head and neck down (think like a startled Halloween cat).
- Repeat this movement as many times as you like, but do a minimum of 10 to 15 repetitions. Many of us may find getting into these positions exactly as described difficult, just do the best you can.
Hamstring and Low Back Stretch
This gentle stretch targets the lower back and hamstrings, which can become tight or painful due to prolonged sitting and/or poor posture.
- Come into this stretch by lying face-up on your bed or floor. Bend your right leg and slowly move it toward your chest.
- Keep your shoulders flat on the floor as you reach your arms around your right knee (if you can’t reach that far, try holding your pant leg) and pull it toward you.
- You should feel a slight stretch through your low back, glutes, and hamstring as you hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on you opposite leg.
Stiff and/or weak ankles spell bad news when it comes to maintaining your balance. By gaining greater flexibility here, you create the first line of defence against falls and stumbles.
- Get comfortable in a sturdy chair, sitting up tall.
- Extend your right leg out in front of you, keeping the other on the floor.
- Begin to rotate your right ankle; 10 to 20 rotations clockwise and 10 to 20 counter-clockwise.
- Lower your leg and repeat on your opposite leg.
By starting a stretching routine on a daily basis. And completing these important stretches will slowly improve your flexibility. So then, it took probably years to get as stiff as you are now. Therefore, you will not regain your former flexibility overnight, it will take a fairly long time. But if you persevere, on a daily basis, you will improve, which will improve your health.
Important Note *
Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.