Graceful and Active Aging

Graceful and Active Aging

Our bodies are designed to be very efficient and active. Yet as we age, our physiology changes. The aging process causes a decrease in bone density, skeletal muscle mass and a change in our movement patterns. Even a slight change in movement pattern could lead to muscle imbalance. Changes in muscle balance can affect the position of your joints at rest and during movement. We are also inclined to lead a more sedentary life. Muscles become used to these new positions that come with less movement, altering their length and flexibility. A study released in PubMed Central regarding Age-Related Physiological Changes stated, “degenerative changes occur in many joints and this, combined with the loss of muscle mass, inhibits locomotion.”

As these new limits are put on our bodies, we tend to avoid doing the things we used to love because the movements are more difficult, and we lose a bit of confidence in what our bodies can do. Proper stretching can keep you moving as you age and give you a better chance of more mobility, balance and enjoyment out of life.

Stretching has many benefits to the physiological changes that our body experiences as we age:

  • Relaxes your connective tissues and lengthens the muscles close to or at their original length. Thus, gaining muscle balance – the proper length and flexibility of muscles surrounding a joint.
  • Increases your flexibility which improves your movement patterns. Improved flexibility also improves energy levels and efficient blood flow throughout the rest of the body, supplying the muscles with re-oxygenated blood and nutrients.
  • Corrects muscle imbalances which is a result of aging due to loss of elasticity in our skeletal muscle mass.
  • Improves joint range of motion due to tight muscles from altered posture and a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Reduces tissue trauma that may further lead to inflammation and muscle spasm.
  • Reduces risk of injury as movement patterns, balance and confidence improve.

One of our regular clients has made stretching part of his new routine. Over the years he suffered many injuries and suffers from back problems. Coming to the studio several times a week has led to tremendous improvements in his back and his overall mobility.

Ask anyone who is in the aging category and most will tell you they wish they could get more out of their bodies. It’s so important to keep moving, and to keep moving you have to care for your body to fight back against father time.

Written by Noah Moore, Stretch Therapist in our Darien CT studio

Stretching For The Active Aging

Stretching For The Active Aging

For many of our therapists, the work they do is not only professionally rewarding, but personally rewarding as well. One of our therapists shares how LYMBR has made a difference in the life of someone very important to him.

We all have that one relative who just can’t move like they used to. An uncle who used to be agile as a fox can no longer look to his left or right without turning his whole upper body. Or mom who was an active runner all her life but now needs help getting in and out of the car. There is no denying it, our bodies experience wear and tear as we age.

For me it is my grandmother who used to be that one-woman army in the household. She did everything from trimming the hedges in the spring and shoveling her driveway in the winter, to taking the dogs out for a run at 6 o’clock in the morning. She defied all standards for what people her age are expected to do but it was only a matter of time before father time caught up to her. She developed osteoarthritis and had to undergo surgery for knee replacement in both of her knees. Now tasks that required no second thought or energy, such as picking up a piece of paper off the ground or tying shoelaces, were difficult and strenuous on her body.

She has gone through physical therapy multiple times in attempt to regain her flexibility and strengthen the muscles surrounding her knee to be able to do the things she was able to do prior to having her surgery. She made progress, however, she was nowhere near her flexibility goal of touching her toes, and nowhere near the level of independence she wanted and was used to. On some days she even needed a grappling device to pick things up that had fallen. There was still something missing, until I introduced her to LYMBR.

Prior to beginning her personalized stretching sessions, she was only able to extend her hands just beyond her knees in a standing position. I worked with her 3 times a week for an hour at a time focusing on her entire lower body chain. In our first session, I found that the reason she was having limited flexibility was due to tightness in her hamstrings, calf muscles and her lower back. By week 3 she was able to not only extend past her knees but able to grab on to her ankles. As we progressed with her range of motion we incorporated more stretches targeting muscles that pull the legs back towards the midline of the body, such as the adductor muscles. By doing this we were able to gain mobility in more directions rather than just neutral, front to back, which in turn promoted better balance as well. By week 5 she was able to touch her toes and was on track to regaining her independence.

I will continue to work with her so that she is able to maintain her range of motion and enjoy the independence that comes with her acquired flexibility.

We don’t know how valuable the elasticity of our muscles is in so many day-to-day activities until we lose mobility and are faced with that lingering thought, “I should have taken better care of myself.” Like so many people, we tend to think that once we lose flexibility in our joints, that range of motion is gone forever. Here at LYMBR we challenge that misconception and evoke a new quality of life through active engagement of the mind and body through safe and efficient personalized stretching.