Life Style

7 Everyday Practices That Harm Your Flexibility Over Time

Maintaining a lifestyle that keeps your body agile, strong, flexible, and able to move easily is crucial as you get older. This is important because aging leads to various physical changes, including wrinkles, age spots, and gray hair. Beyond these cosmetic changes, studies have shown that your body also undergoes a reduction in muscle mass and bone density, and you may experience increased joint stiffness. It’s essential to pay attention to these changes regularly. To enhance your everyday practices, we consulted Ronny Garcia, CPT from Blink Fitness, who outlined seven daily behaviors that negatively impact your flexibility as you age.

“Having flexible muscles and joints reduces the risk of experiencing strains, sprains, and other injuries,” Garcia explains. This is why making an effort to maintain flexibility is crucial. “Improved flexibility ensures your body is properly aligned and increases your range of motion,” Garcia continues. “These benefits enable you to move more smoothly and carry out day-to-day tasks with ease.”

Continue reading to discover the seven daily actions that harm your flexibility as you get older. And after that, check out the 6 Top Pilates Moves for Better Balance & Coordination.

You’re not moving your body in the morning.

mature woman in green long-sleeve top and white pants doing yoga at golden hour on the beach

Kickstarting your morning with some healthy movement can set the tone for your entire day. Something as simple as heading outdoors for a brisk walk around your neighborhood or engaging in a light yoga flow will stretch out and warm up your body in minimal time. It’s an excellent habit to get into.

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You’re sedentary.

mature woman sitting in chair reading book by fireplace

Being sedentary or assuming a “couch potato” lifestyle is one of the worst things you can do for your flexibility and overall health. When you sit for a good portion of the day, you’ll experience muscle tightness and overall decreased flexibility, explains Garcia. In addition, research shows that sitting too much could lead to weight gain, chronic inflammation, and even certain cancers.

Make it your mission to get up and take movement breaks every so often!

You don’t have a go-to stretch routine.

mature runner stretching outdoors

It should come as no surprise that your body will be all-around less flexible if you don’t stretch it out. “Not incorporating regular stretching into your routine can cause muscles to become stiff and less pliable,” Garcia tells us. “To stay flexible, perform regular dynamic and static stretches with all major muscle groups. Focus on stiffness like the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders.”

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You’re slouching.

mature woman on laptop sedentary at 60 on the couch

Being mindful of your posture—and strengthening it—plays a key role in flexibility. “Slouching or hunching over can shorten muscles and restrict range of motion over time,” cautions Garcia.

You’re not warming up.

mature woman walking outdoors, concept of walking for weight loss

Don’t forget to warm up; it’s a crucial part of your workouts, yet many individuals disregard it. “Skipping warm-ups before exercise can increase your risk of injury and contribute to stiffness,” explains Garcia.

To make the most of any flexibility workout, OrthoInfo emphasizes the importance of warming up before you move into stretching. In addition, make sure your stretches are gradual and gentle. And lastly, stretching out your body shouldn’t be painful. If it hurts, it’s imperative to check in with a certified personal trainer or your healthcare provider.

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You’re not strength training.

mature fitness couple using dumbbells for exercises to slow aging in your 50s

Strength training, aka resistance training, is the name of the game if you want to stay strong and flexible well into older age. In fact, research shows that resistance training can boost your flexibility or range of motion all on its own. The same research reveals that exercise order and the intensity at which you train can impact changes in range of motion when performing resistance training.

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You’re not giving your body enough rest and recovery.

mature couple meditating at home

Rest and recovery is another key aspect to your overall progress. Even though it may feel like you’re not being as productive on recovery days, your body requires them to repair itself.

“Improper rest and recovery (i.e. overtraining) can lead to muscle fatigue and reduced flexibility,” Garcia stresses.

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Tiara Clephin

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