The Effects of Flexibility as You Age and How to Maintain It

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We’re born flexible, but our muscles and ligaments become tighter and tighter with each year, especially when we’re not regularly stretching.  As young adults, and even into later years, this decreased flexibility hardly seems noticeable, as it doesn’t hinder our everyday life.  And then, one day, a simple quick turn to the side or a misstep results in agony.  This sharp twinge of pain might be due to your “bad back” or “weak knees,” but more than likely, the cause is lack of flexibility – your muscles just weren’t supple enough to move with you.  

Sure, we naturally lose flexibility as we age but the truth is that’s only the case if we don’t consistently work at preserving it.  Not only does good flexibility help in preventing injuries like the one described above, but it also improves balance, decreases feelings of fatigue, and increases mental acuity.  The great news is that it’s fairly easy to maintain with simple daily exercises.  Here are a few that you can do seated: 

Hip Opener:  While seated on the edge of your chair, cross one ankle over the opposite knee.  Slowly fold over with a straight spine.  Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat with the other side. 

Lower Back Release: Turn to sit with your legs hanging over the side of the chair.  Slowly, twist until your arms can hold the back of the chair.  While continuing to hold the back of the chair with the hand closest to it, reach your other arm to the opposite knee (or as far as it can go). 

Open Shoulders: While seated on the edge of your chair, reach your arms back behind you and hold onto the chair.  Push your chest out.

Hamstring Stretch: While seated on the edge of your chair, stretch one leg out and flex your foot, keeping your heel to the ground.  Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat with the other side.

As you can see, you don’t have to go out of your way to stretch, and the payoff is so worth it.  Comment on our Facebook post if you try out these seated stretches!

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