The Importance of Stretching

It is very important to be active and continue to get up and move as we age. But, it is also very important to remember that stretching and focusing on flexibility is just as important as staying active. Everyone, especially older adults, need to stretch in order to protect mobility and independence. Stretching is very important to do on a daily basis.

Stretching helps to keep muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. We need all this, especially flexibility, to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without stretching, the muscles shorten and become extremely tight. Think about sitting in a chair all day. Doing this will result in tight hamstrings which will result in making it harder to straighten your leg and cause problems with your knees. This can inhibit walking. Stretching regularly keeps your muscles long, lean, and flexible. This will help keep your muscles healthy and will also help people with balance issues avoid falls.

Although it is very important to stretch, stretching once a day won’t magically give you perfect flexibility. For this to work, you need to remain committed to the process over time. It may take weeks to months to improve your flexibility but don’t get discouraged.

Before stretching, warm up your muscles for five to ten minutes. This can be anything you like such as a light walk. Hold a stretch for 30 seconds and try your best to not bounce. This can cause injury. You should feel tension during your stretch, but you should not feel pain.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing- Harvard Medical School

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