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.