‘If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.’
As we, age more stretching – much more – is recommended rather than less. It is crucial to elongate shortened muscles so that they return to their best resting position, and to do this often. Tight muscles influence the movement in the lower back and pelvis and can cause poor posture and/or pain, especially if the tightness is asymmetrical. Regular stretching will increase range of motion, promote circulation, and make the body feel more relaxed. If it’s done safely. Daily ‘understretching’ is better than a rare, forceful stretching session.
The fifteen-minute video at the end of this blog could become part of your getting-ready-for-bed routine. The benefits of stretching are great any time of the day, but especially before rest. Muscles shorten over the day. Inactivity – such as prolonged sitting in front of a computer or in a car – causes muscles to tighten up. Yet so does physical activity, such as jogging, biking, and walking.
The stretches shown in the video are safe and effective, but if any movement aggravates old pains or injuries, or doesn’t feel right in your body, leave it out or reduce the range of motion. Some movements may not be appropriate if you are recovering from a knee or hip replacement. In this short workout we use a small squishy ball, though this is optional. Notice that an underinflated small ball is best. So is a comfortable padded mat or rug. Also, if possible, a warm, quiet area where you won’t be disturbed.
Make sure your body is warm before following the video. The best time to stretch is after performing some gentle movements, or after a bath or a shower.