Stretch for Strength and Flexibility “Flexibility is the ability of joints to maintain full range of motion,” says Terri Ivanoski, PurposeFULL Living Manager at North Hill’s Vista Terrace. “As we age, our muscles lose strength and size, becoming stiff and less elastic,” she adds.
Oh no! Feeling stiff might encourage us to take seat, but resist the temptation! The less we move, the stiffer we become! So, take a little time every day to stretch and you’ll enjoy all the benefits of keeping your muscles in shape:
Good Posture: We can still hear their voices; mom, teacher, dance instructor, trainer: stand up straight, don’t slouch! They knew what they were talking about. Stretching helps maintain good posture which reduces the force of gravity on muscles and joints. As a result, we breathe easy and improve digestion. Good posture also helps keep the spine in alignment and reduces muscle fatigue. And admit it, don’t you feel more confident when you’re walking tall?
Reduced Soreness: Stretching increases the temperature of our tissues, thus facilitating the transportation of nutrients and overall circulation and causing our muscles to relax. Warm, relaxed muscles are less likely to fell achy and sore.
A Comfortable Back: Our lower muscles support our backs. Keeping our hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps limber helps to avoid the discomfort of lower back pain and the damage to muscles and bones that can accumulate over time.
A Body in Motion: Stretching helps relax our mind and body, and avoid pain. When our muscles feel good they invite us to use them more! We are designed to move, so regardless of how young or how old, we should stretch daily for health in mind and body.
Get Started! Terri suggests we start slowly. Stretch gently and hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Focus first on larger muscle groups: shoulders, hamstrings, hips and lower back, and calf muscles. Yoga poses offer optimal stretches so find a class near you. And remember that good nutrition completes a healthy lifestyle and nourishes muscles.