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Is it Possible to Gain Flexibility After 50?

As you reach 50 and head beyond its borders, you will be inundated with tricks, hacks, and methodologies for extending your youth, tricking the clock, and looking your best.

A couple over 50 doing a leg stretch
Is it possible to gain flexibility after 50?

Table of Contents:

Don't lose money on gimmicks.

These present themselves on social media platforms, via text messages from someone who got them from someone else (and their friends and so on) and even television adverts. One of the things we couldn’t help, but notice was that so many of the marketing ploys (and that’s exactly what they are, by the way) aimed at us were/are focused on shortcuts and value-less approaches. Heck, we even encountered a cream made from snail slime that claims to reverse the signs of aging in people 50 and above. Yikes.

It’s time for one of those reality checks.

Not everything you encounter offering the secret (or path) to eternal youth and agility is truthful. In fact, many of them lack value. If someone (or an advert) tells you that it’s the quickest and easiest way to weight loss, smooth, wrinkle-free skin, a placated bowel (as opposed to an irritable one), and gleaming muscles bulging in areas they never bulged before in your youth, you’re being lied to. You’re merely a money source for whoever is behind those empty promises.

What works? Hard work, works.

Time and effort works. Stretching works. Because it is beneficial to you, it won’t be a walk in the park. It will take some effort. So step away from fad 50+ers diet plans, stop buying those gimmicky “do this for 5 minutes a day” body transformation gadgets, and focus on something that’s genuinely beneficial to you. The best place for anyone of our age to start is with stretching. In chapter one, we already covered the many benefits of stretching. Now it is time for us to discuss these benefits in a bit more detail.

One of the first things we need to mention is that it is essential to maintain a range of motion within your joints. If you don’t, the muscles shorten and become tight – and trust us, that’s uncomfortable. Remember that friend of ours who hurt her shoulder while reaching up from her seat on a flight? If you aren’t willing to put in the effort now, that could be you. You could innocently reach up to say change a lightbulb, and all of a sudden, the pain and strain courses through your body, leading to months of rehabilitating treatments that rarely achieve the outcomes you hope for.

a woman stretching her arms towards her feet.
It's important to stretch your muscles after 50 years of age.

In short, stretching keeps your muscles healthy, strong, and flexible. Well stretched muscles are ready when you need them, and better yet, they’re not prone to injury when you do need them. Stretching is a mere stepping-stone for more movement. So, if your goal is to become more active again, implementing a regular stretching routine should be your first step. But, of course, if you have any pre-existing conditions that have made exercise and stretching impossible over the years, it is best to consult with your physician before you start getting active.

Gain flexibility after 50

With all this talk of stretching, there’s bound to be a few naysayers who have their doubts. You might wonder why stretching is important for someone over 50 when you seem to have gotten by just fine without it for all these years. The thing is, you have just got by. You haven’t thrived, and we want you to thrive. You undoubtedly feel the niggling aches and pains that come with age, and the good news is that they are reversible. All hope is not lost! There’s every reason why 50+ can be your best years yet. To give you something to go on, let’s look at four targeted ways stretching can support active aging, and keep pesky muscle tightness and aches at bay. (see our article on stretching daily)

Stretching relieves lower back pain and reduces symptoms of arthritis.

Back pain has a way of sneaking up on us in our 50s. Lower back pain, in particular, is often the result of spinal stenosis, Osteoarthritis, or the one we all hate to admit, carrying extra weight. If you’re extra sensitive to old age as some people are, the cartilage between the joints may degenerate and cause additional pain (this is actually stenosis). Osteoarthritis is also nothing to scoff at. It’s a painful disease that affects 33% of 50+ers. While stretching cannot reverse the conditions affecting your lower back, it will go a long way to relieving the pain, improving flexibility, alleviating joint stiffness, and extending your range of motion. You could be bidding your back pain a fond farewell just by committing yourself to regular stretching.

Stretching reduces the risk of falling.

Being 50+ can feel like warfare with the environment around you. Everything seems to want to knock you over, trip you up, or see you hurtling through the air. The reality is that it’s not really old age to blame - it’s your lack of balance and stability. While general imbalance comes with age, you can actually work on being more flexible, sturdy and balanced. Research shows that flexibility and range of motion are critical to creating the stability necessary to reduce the risk of falling. If you want to be a lot less wobbly on your feet, improving and retaining flexibility in the hamstrings and quadriceps is essential. These muscles directly impact your static balance. Another area that you need to keep mobile and strong are the hip joints because they also impact static balance. Before you ask, static balance is when you are standing still. On the other hand, dynamic balance is being able to maintain balance and be sturdy on your feet while you’re moving. Stretching strengthens the muscles, increases flexibility and improves range of motion – all things required for better balance. So long slip and fall incidents! You’re soon going to be firmly planted on your feet!

Stretching supports good posture.

Now that you’re 50+, you have to pay for the sins of your youth. Don’t worry; we’re not going to dig too deeply into your past! One of the biggest consequences 50+ers pay is poor posture due to a life spent hunched over a desk, or worse yet, a mobile phone. Now, as a 50+er, suddenly you’re sporting a hunched back or can only slump down in chairs. Now what? The very first thing you absolutely need to know is that poor posture compresses the spine, which in turn causes pesky lower back pain. With daily stretching, posture can improve, and pain can (and will) reduce. With regular and dedicated stretching (that’s doing the correct stretches), you can significantly increase flexibility and loosen tight ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

Stretching improves energy and blood flow.

While doing our research for this book, we came across some pretty interesting information on the role of blood flow (or circulation, as you might call it) on the body. For instance, did you know that having poor circulation can lead to lethargy, joint pain, hemorrhoids, poor mental clarity and even more severe conditions such as phlebitis, heart attacks and strokes? Blood flow also carries oxygen to all your vital organs, so if your blood flow is sluggish, the chances are that your organs aren’t operating at their full potential.

Stretching is known to boost blood flow and send healthy oxygenated blood throughout the body. This leads to more energy, high-functioning organs, and less chance of falling victim to the conditions mentioned above. Stretches that help boost circulation includes arm swings, shoulder circles, lunges, leg swings, and squats. While stretching gets your circulation going, it also increases flexibility and increases range of motion – it’s a great all-rounder!

It's never too late to embark on a journey toward a healthier, more vibrant you, especially when you feel the effects of neglecting self-care for years. Rediscover the path to physical well-being. 


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