Like many things in life, stretching happens to be one of those important items that get pushed to the bottom of your priority list. Similar to flossing, stretching seems to occur only when you really need it. For most of us, we can get away without stretching for quite some time. We can run, lift, and compete for years without even thinking about stretching. This is of course until we have to.

As we age our bodies need different forms of stimulus to operate at a high level. As you approach your forties, you can’t expect to run as fast as you did when you were in your twenties. What you can do is increase your chances of success by maintaining your overall range of motion in each part of your body.

Stretching is a valuable piece to any training program. Even though the role of stretching in preventing injuries is controversial, it nonetheless can improve your overall flexibility. When your body moves easier, activities of daily living are completed without a second thought. From cleaning to yard work, no task should give you a hard time when your body moves the way you want it to.

As important as stretching may be, many people put stretching on the back-burner and find themselves unable to exercise due to injury or pain. I have seen patients of all ages, including members of the active geriatric population. What I have noticed is that the healthiest, most active senior citizens all have a common trait. They all stretch every single day.

Although the studies may be conflicted, you cannot discount the empirical data from those individuals who lead an active lifestyle well into there 80’s. Decreased soreness, improved performance in all activity, increased joint range of motion, and decreased risk of injury are just a few of the things you can expect from incorporating a daily stretching routine. Talk to your physical therapist today to see what stretches are appropriate for your current level of fitness.

Yours in health,

Keith Pacific