As we age everything about us slows down and our bodies stiffen i.e. both the joints and the muscles. We tire faster, our bodies don’t repair themselves as quickly as when we were younger, our metabolism slows, etc. One thing always discussed is exercise. Everyone needs to exercise as it helps with the, well, everything. It seems no one really stresses the importance of “stretching”. Before any workout at all, specialists always insist upon it but even if you skip the exercise always stretch.

It is clear as day that many mature adults’ bodies become less flexible where they can’t turn their heads equally to each side, or reach far enough to comb their hair or wash their backs. More often than not it is related to a lack of stretching, or movement. With your doctor’s consent of course, you should begin as soon as possible. Almost everyone starts their day with a quick extending of the arms before getting out of bed; just take it a few steps further:

• Stand with legs straight, (first with legs together and then apart) and reach for the stars;
• From there, with legs apart and arms extended, reach to each side;
• Whether in standing position or sitting down with legs extended try to touch your toes (you’ll notice within days you will reach further with less bend in your knees;
• With arm over your head, bent at the elbow, use your opposite hand to help push elbow back thus stretching tricep and extending your reach to shoulder blades;
• tilt your head side to side keeping your shoulder in same position or pushing downward;
• turn your head side to side several times slowly
• hold your hands at chest level with arms extended reaching forward (with arms only, not bending forward) thus loosening shoulder muscles;
• try to grasp your hands together behind your back and hold it for a few moments; if you are having trouble with this exercise, don’t worry, a little more stretch each day will help until you can.

Flexibility is a given to babies and the young. As we age, we have to stretch to maintain our flexibility and our independence. Independence, you say? Yes. If we can’t move enough to wash ourselves or comb our hair, then we depend on someone to help us with daily life. Flexibility allows us to walk properly, and walking properly exhibits a youthful flair.

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