Stretching: The new mobility protection

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Source:  Harvard Health Letter / Published: November, 2016

A loss of flexibility may not seem like a big deal as we age. After all, it’s no longer necessary to do the kinds of athletic moves we did when we were younger. But flexibility is the secret sauce that enables us to move safely and easily, and the way to stay limber is to stretch. “People don’t always realize how important stretching is to avoiding injury and disability,” says Elissa Huber-Anderson, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Losing flexibility

Flexibility declines as the years go by because the muscles get stiffer. And if you don’t stretch them, the muscles will shorten. “A shortened muscle does not contract as well as a muscle at its designed length,” explains Huber-Anderson. Calling on a shortened muscle for activity puts you at risk for muscle damage, strains, and joint pain.

Shortened muscles also increase your risk for falling and make it harder to do activities that require flexibility, such as climbing stairs or reaching for a cup in a kitchen cabinet. “Warning signs that it’s becoming a problem would be having difficulty putting on your shoes and socks or tucking in the back of your shirt,” says Huber-Anderson.

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