Getting older means your body doesn’t always feel the way it used to. Things might ache and crack more, are tighter than usual, and getting back up from a seated position or off the floor takes longer than it ever did in your twenties.
As age increases, mobility often decreases. If you want to stay active, we believe it’s wise to focus on flexibility and mobility to keep you moving.
Why does it get harder to move with age?
As people age our bones lose calcium and minerals, which can cause arms and legs to become more brittle and break more easily. Joint problems and mild stiffness are very common because fluid in the joints decrease, causing pain and decreased flexibility. Cartilage also wears down as strength and endurance change.
Exercises to increase or maintain flexibility
The good news is that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce or prevent problems with muscles, joints, and bones, even as you age. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can increase mobility and flexibility, and also help decrease pain and stiffness.
Here are our favorite exercises to increase flexibility and alignment
Planking is one of the best exercises you can do to help strengthen your core, which in turn helps strengthen the rest of your body and makes all your movements more fluid. If you’re bored with the standard plank, there are several variations, including side plank, shoulder plank, and planche plank.
How often to do it: Try holding it for 30 seconds each time you do a workout and work your way up to holding it for a minute.
2. Hamstring Stretches
Doing a series of hamstring stretches targets your hamstrings but also your core and inner thighs. Hamstring stretches can include single hamstring stretch, instep hamstring stretch, and scissor hamstring stretch.
How often to do it: Stretch for 10 to 15 minutes 2 to 3 times a week, after doing a dynamic warm-up.
3. Water workouts
Exercising in the water is ideal because mobility increases as the water offers your body the support it needs to move. You can get a full-body cardio and strength workout with almost zero impact on your joints and muscles with exercises like swimming and our Aqua Fit classes.
How often to do it: Aim to be in the pool exercising for 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week.
4. Chin Tuck
Tightness in your neck can affect the muscles all the way down your back. Chin tucks are easy and effective in reducing pain and tightness. You can do chin tucks while standing or sitting throughout the day.
How often to do it: Do one set of 10 and increase slowly until you can do 2 to 3 sets each day.
5. Sun Salutation
There are many benefits to doing yoga regularly, including the increase it can give you in flexibility and alignment. A quick set of sun salutations for beginners, which includes poses like Cat/Cow, Downward Dog and Mountain Pose will stretch out your back, reset your posture, and destress your mind.
How often to do it: Simple yoga poses are a great way to start or end your day. You can do them at home or at the gym. Aim for 3 to 5 times a week.
Working on flexibility and simple movements will help increase your overall mobility while decreasing pain and stiffness. Putting the work in and staying active will help keep you feeling young and lively throughout your golden years.