Your Body’s Flexibility: Use it or Lose it (But You Can also Improve it!)
If you’ve noticed that you aren’t as flexible as you once were, don’t give up hope! While it’s true that age typically does affect your flexibility, it isn’t as simple as something that once it starts to go, it’s gone forever (not like hair or eyesight, thank goodness). While some people are naturally more “bendy” (to use a physical therapist term) than others, there are ways you can increase your ability to move, even if you’ve begun to notice some days you need an oil can to move!
What Flexibility Means
Flexibility is essentially our ability to move in a comfortable range-of-motion, without being stiff and without having to strain. Imagine the difference between an ornamental grass and a sturdy oak tree in a wind storm; one will sway and move with the wind while the other will stand rigid and tall, but be more likely to crack! In your case, you’d rather bend than “break”.
You Can be Too Bendy
While you should look at having healthy flexibility, being overly bendy can also cause issues. For those who tend to be a little too flexible, they may find themselves with less stability which may can carry risk for injury. People who are extra-flexible may want to work with a physical therapist in order to strengthen weak areas and work on things like core strength.
Effects of Age
Flexibility tends to diminish with age, especially if you don’t work to keep it. Maintaining your movement is definitely one of those “use it or lose it” qualities! While you may not wake up one day realizing your flexibility is gone, you may notice over time that you can’t bend over to reach your feet the way you could when you were younger, or how some movements have grown more difficult with time.
How to Improve Flexibility
Simple steps like keeping weight down, staying fit, and working on stretching and regular movement can help keep you flexible. You’ve probably seen plenty of older adults enjoying yoga classes; while many of them have practiced for years, some may have only taken it up more recently! Working with a physical therapist is also an ideal way to target specific areas that need extra work. Your PT can design specific stretches to help improve movement and flexibility, and will also monitor your progress.
At Body One Physical Therapy, your PT will assess your movement and note any areas that need improvement. You’ll receive a custom treatment plan that may include both manual (hands-on) therapy, and an at-home exercise program for you to help make progress on your own. Since improving your flexibility and range-of-motion can improve discomfort, muscle tension, etc., your PT is the ideal resource to help you reach your goals.
If you need help with movement, injury, mobility, and more, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. We’re both locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. When they say grow old gracefully, they don’t tell you to do it alone – call Body One today!