It doesn’t get as much attention as cardio or weight training, but when it comes to your long-term health, getting flexible is the gift that keeps on giving.
Not everyone has ambitions of becoming a super-flexible dancer or yogi, but we all need to keep our bodies flexible for optimal health. While it’s common advice for people to stretch, most of us don’t even know why.
The benefits of stretching are many and varied. It keeps you flexible – and being flexible improves your mobility, posture and muscle coordination. It also reduces the risk of injuries and muscle pain.
According to Freeletics.com, if you don’t work on your flexibility regularly, muscles shorten with time. Limited flexibility feels like stiffness and it restricts you in your daily life. For example, when you sit a lot, your hip flexors will tighten and you’ll start to really feel the pain when you stand up from your chair.
Promote feeling youthful
Like most things, our flexibility and mobility decreases with age. At age 50 we only have about 50% of the mobility we had at age 23, and at age 60 we only have about 25% of the mobility we had at age 23. That drastic drop can be prevented with regular stretching and other exercises that promote flexibility, such as yin yoga.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start on your path to flexibility. It does require patience and it’s a lifelong commitment. The Mayo Clinic suggests you make time to stretch at least two to three times a week, but if you can do it daily, you’ll reap even more rewards.
It’s also important to stretch different muscle groups in your body. Some areas, like the hips, can seem intimidating, but those are the areas that need a lot of attention.