Slow The Effects Of Aging With Stretching And Exercise
Posted Aug 25 2008 3:31pm
As you age, your muscles tighten and range of motion in the joints is reduced. This hinders active lifestyles and even normal day-to-day motions. A regular stretching program can help reduce muscle imbalances and tightness.
I will limit the discussion to static stretching, which is basically holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds at the point of moderate tension in the muscle. Stretch each muscle group for 2-3 sets. You should stretch your muscles every day to help prevent injuries, maintain normal joint range of motion, relieve stress and improve circulation. Stretch the major muscles in your body (shoulders, arms, gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, back, etc.) and the minor muscles such as those in the neck. It is also important to stretch smoothly and slowly (never bounce) and breathe normally during the stretching motions. You can stretch in the morning, during your work day and at night.
When you exercise, warmup 5-10 with your favorite cardio activity at a moderate pace. It's okay if your body doesn't respond to physical activity and exercise as it once did when you were 20 or 30 years old! You can't change your age but you can slow down your biological clock. You don't have to significantly decrease your activity level as you grow older. You just might need to change the type of exercises you do, such as doing low-impact exercises to decrease wear and tear on your body. Do your static stretches after your exercise program to restore your muscles to normal length.