Do you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Well, you very well might be!
As we age, our joints that once had a large range of motion become less flexible, our muscles become tighter and less mobile, and we may experience aches and pains when doing routine, everyday tasks. This experience is quite common, but we have some tips and tricks that can take some of that weight off your tired body.
Regular exercise, stretching, and flexibility work are recommended for adults and can help keep some of these tight areas of the body a little more loose and ready for activity. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week of cardiovascular exercise ranging from light activity for new participants and moderate to vigorous for those who regularly exercise.
“Stretching is an important part of a balanced exercise routine and if you are not active, don’t worry, stretching can be a great place to start,” Stephanie Jones, Arkansas Blue Cross wellness instructor, said.
Strength training can be done 2-3 days a week with a day of rest in between, allowing your muscles to recover and relax.
Stretch it out
Stretching is a beneficial tool for regaining joint flexibility.
“Most of us sit frequently during the day, stretching can help alleviate the tightness we may feel from sitting,” Stephanie said. “Try to stretch your hips if you sit for long periods of time-a runner’s stretch can help stretch out your hips, you can even kneel on the floor if needed.”
Stretches can be held anywhere from 10-60 seconds, with older participants recommended staying in a stretch for the upper end of that range. You can wait until you have performed a few minutes of light to moderate activity to generate heat, and then repeat the stretches 2-4 times for maximum results.
Taking a few intentional minutes each day to strengthen and stretch your body will help you feel a little lighter and improve your overall mental and physical well-being. Studies show that exercise, even stretching, can improve your mood and lessen stress.
“While stretching, it is normal to experience mild discomfort, if you feel pain it is a sign that you need to stop and not stretch as deeply,” Stephanie said. “Start off holding a stretch for 10-30 seconds, for older adults holding stretches for 30-60 seconds may be more beneficial. Remember to do stretches on both sides of your body and try to repeat each stretch 2-4 times.”