Have you ever heard the expression from Joseph Pilates “A man is as young as his spinal column”? As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and maintaining flexibility becomes essential for our physical wellbeing. Embracing a regular stretching routine is a powerful tool to boost our overall well-being, decrease body pain, and reduce the physical effects of aging. In this blog post, I will explain you why you should start today to stretch and how it contributes to a healthier, more active and happy life.
Before we get into the details, let me introduce you to my grandma, who currently is 90 years old. She is my inspiration and if I ever live so long, I want to be like her. She is half blind, but she still manages to live alone. She moves so gracefully and, despite a couple of health issues, she is physically in an amazing shape. I recently lived with her for a couple of days, and we did a fun flexibility test challenge. I asked her to reach her toes, and BOOM! She did. We then went to figures like balancing in one foot, and she started dancing and making movements that someone at her age would supposedly not be able to do.
So… what is her secret? I know she and my grandpa always had a wholesome diet. But I am also aware that my grandpa would go 5 times per week to swim for one hour, and my grandma was going to fitness classes until age 87. In these classes they stretched, danced and did conditioning work; significantly contributing to her current health and mobility.
So... am I too old to stretch?
The idea that there is an age limit to stretch, it is a misconception that needs to be eliminated. Flexibility training is not exclusive to the young – even more, the stiffer you are, the more you should stretch. You just saw it, even at age 90, you could be able to reach your toes!
We are all born soft. Therefore, it is common that we tend to be naturally more flexible in our younger years. As life happens though, and you opt for a sedentary lifestyle, or you practice sports that do not require mobility and rather shorten your muscles, your body will close. In the same way: if you spend many hours seated, and you almost do not move – or in your free time you practice sports that tighten the body – you will also reduce your flexibility and mobility.
However, flexibility is a quality that can be improved at any age through consistent and appropriate stretching exercises. Routines and exercises like we share at the Zohar.Yoga.Flex YouTube channel help adults becoming more flexible, no matter their age or gender. Because there is no age limit to stretch!
Engaging in regular stretching exercises, tailored to individual needs and abilities, can bring many benefits regardless of your age. As we age, joints become stiffer, and regular stretching helps counteract this stiffness. But does stretching only promote better movement and range of motion? There is much more - working in your flexibility will not only help you to feel younger, but you will also enjoy the following benefits.
Benefits of Stretching
1. Reduce Risk of Injury: By increasing your flexibility, you will significantly improve joint health and reduce the risk of injury. As we age, our muscles and ligaments deteriorate and we become more susceptible to musculoskeletal issues.
2. Enhance Body Posture: Nothing new, but in case you were unaware of it, stretching promotes better posture by lengthening our muscles. Having a better posture will help you enhancing physical appearance and reduce strain on your body.
3. Alleviate Pain: By working on your muscle flexibility and balance through stretching, you will be able to significantly reduce age-related aches and pains. Tightness and imbalances can cause more discomfort and pain than you can ever imagine! Often, we think we have an injury, when simply stretching could mitigate the ache and help us live a pain-free life. The class below, will help you improve your spinal mobility, lengthen your back muscles and significantly reduce your back pain.
Aging is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn't mean that we should resign ourselves to a sedentary lifestyle and stop taking care of our wellbeing. Incorporating regular stretching exercises into our daily routine can significantly slow down the aging process and help us maintain a higher quality of life.
I feel younger now, in the middle of my thirties, than when I was on my twenties. Living in a “movement free” body is a luxury and I wish started stretching earlier in life. I used to suffer lot of pain when I was at university and later working at the office. Stretching has been my best medicine against the body ache. And I know I am not alone on this, I teach weekly flexibility and mobility classes to students that also see the benefit of having a fixed stretching routine to boost their mood and physical wellbeing. If you want to join our weekly classes, check the online flexibility classes and in person events. And if none of the classes fit your schedule, you can practice already recorded classes on demand, or free resources at the Zohar.Yoga.Flex YouTube channel.
I truly believe on the power of stretching, and I also would like to be like my grandma: at age 90 keep living in a young body. So, if you find yourself wondering,
"Am I too old to stretch?"
the answer is a no. Embrace stretching in your life, and discover the transformative effects it can have on overall well-being, by boosting your mood and physical performance!