Flexibility is something we all need in our everyday lives in order to function properly and with relative ease.It provides a range of movement in a joint or joints, and muscles across joints.Without this ability, everyday activities, even simple personal ones, become more difficult to carry out. Also a person’s balance can be seriously affected leading perhaps to being prone to falls resulting in further injury.The problem is that as we age our flexibility tends to deteriorate,and also this resultant lack of function has often become worse over time because of a sedentary lifestyle.Many of us take take flexibility for granted until we begin to lose it. Part of the problem is therefore unconsciously self-inflicted.So what to do if afflicted, say, with back pain or loss of mobility?
Well,all need not be lost. If, for instance, you suffer from a back pain Garry Trainer, an osteopath who counts Hollywood A-listers Gwyneth Paltrow,Emma Thompson and Sir Paul McCartney on his list of clients,says this can happen to 80% of the population.Many people can get sudden back problems just because they move in the wrong way at the wrong time.The solution is to do a bit of stretching.Staying active and stretching regularly can help both ease and reduce the likelihood of back pain.
Garry Trainer on Walesonline reveals how to keep supple and mobile. You should:
“Stretch gently to the left, and to the right. Move gently forwards and backwards and rotate it as often as you can. But be careful as the wrong movement can harm your back.
“The majority of onsets of pain are very innocent, like switching on your computer or bending down to pick up a pen, so make sure one of these so-called innocent movements doesn’t become the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“Improving the muscles in your back will improve the chance of not getting any aches and pains but start slowly. Just do a few reps to start with and then work your way up.”
All this can be done while sitting, lying or standing.
Delay and even reverse decline in flexibility
Dr Karl Knopf has written several books on physical fitness and conditioning for men and women aged 50 and older.For over 38 years he has focused on improving the health and wellbeing of disabled persons and older adults.In his book : Stretching for 50+ he sets out his customised program for increasing flexibility,avoiding injury and enjoying an active lifestyle.He believes that a progressive and regular stretching program is able to help individuals delay and even reverse a degeneration in mobility. Also, age has less to do with ageing than how we live and treat our bodies.
His book explains how the wrong physical activity can make our muscles tight, and overuse of our muscles overtime can cause inflexibility.Using many illustrations and short easy to follow exercises, this manual offers through stretching a solution to avoiding injury and pain. Habits of bad posture can be eliminated.
Flexibility is important in our everyday lives to enable us to accomplish even the easiest of physical tasks with relative ease.
Staying active and stretching regularly help prevent this loss of mobility, which ensures independence as you age.Weakness,frailty and a loss of independence are not inevitable as you age.
So the final words go to Dr Knopf who says, proper flexibility plays a significant part in how we stand,how we walk and even our ability to maintain balance. Balance in its many guises is one key to successful ageing.This included keeping your mind balanced with mental stimulation,keeping your centre of gravity balanced so you don’t fall,and keeping your body balanced by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight muscles.
In digital form his book explains the do’s and don’ts of stretching for health. “Stretching for 50+” , runs to 128 pages and is laid out in 3 parts:
Part One : Getting Started
Part Two : Specialised programs
Part Three : The Stretches
Caution: This book is a full package.But like any manual on health and exercise the caveats include consulting your doctor before embarking on a program of unaccustomed exercise or activities which are in appropriate because of any medical or physical problem. Some buyers of the book have said that they were not able to use all the excercises described in the book. It may not be for everyone.But , I believe the content to be possibly life changing,with easy instructions to be had about improving flexibility by stretching.