Joint Flexibility and Ways to Maintain It
May 29, 2020
The aging process can sometimes be a hard road to navigate with changes that take place within the body and mind, but maintaining an active lifestyle is one way to help cope with these changes. Maintaining a regular routine of body movement can help keep muscles toned, your heart conditioned and joints flexible. Whether quarantine has forced you to move more or sit more, here are some suggestions to keep your joints flexible no matter your physical abilities.
Flexibility is the measure of the range of motion of a joint. Flexibility is also affected by the health of other connective tissues, muscles, and some healthy conditions such as arthritis. As we age, our muscles naturally lose mass, which can result in joint stiffness and impede our range of motion. This inflexibility can be limiting, making simple, everyday movements difficult and even painful. One way to maintain flexibility across all levels of capability is to safely move your body each and every day.
Use Tools for Assistance
There are a variety of affordable tools that can be used to help with stretching exercises. Here are a few you can try out at home:
Massage therapy balls
Massage therapy balls can be found for purchase online, at sporting goods stores or sometimes directly from a massage therapist. These small, tennis ball sized balls allow for a firm massage in small areas on the body. Check out this video by the Wellness Center staff of Pisgah Valley demonstrating the use of the massage therapy ball.
Foam rollers have become a popular choice for many. The use of a foam roller does require some training so always be careful using a new exercise tool. These rollers are great for gently breaking up muscle stiffness and easing pain on specific areas of use.
Yoga straps or resistance bands
Yoga straps and resistance bands are two different items but can be used similarly. The yoga strap is one long strap that is not looped however resistance bands are looped. Both can be purchased in various sizes/resistances from online stores or sporting goods stores. These can be used to stretch all areas of the body from the legs up to the chest and neck.
Take a Class
Finally, a fun and safe way to get started is to join a group instructed class! The variety of classes available is infinite, and, with new technologies, can even be done in the privacy of your own home. Online platforms such as YouTube have numerous free workout videos spanning all class types including weights, stretching, dancing, yoga, and more. Here is one more link to a gentle flow workout from the staff at Pisgah Valley Wellness Center sure to get those joints limbered up and feeling more flexible for the day ahead. Our wellness program at Pisgah Valley encourages residents and members to get moving. Healthy aging begins with a single step.