How to get flexible after 40!
By Jose Fuentes/Blogger/CN/CPT/MS/C.S.P.S.
Many men and women argued of what is the most essential physical attribute, one can keep after 40 years of age.
In my 35 years, dedicated to exercise, and, as a 45 year old athlete, I believe flexibility is by far the most important gift for anyone looking to stay active and limber passing their forty year old mark. . There is a hodgepodge of options you can do to increase flexibility. You need to have a permanent plan for permanent results. A plan that can catapult your flexibility and range of motion to a new level. To catapult your flexibility after 40 you must understand few concepts.
First know that as you age your body lose strength, and elasticity, flexibility after 40 years of age is crucial for muscle and joint health, and in addition, certain activities such as leaning forward, seat on a tilted position, walking with stiff arms, will shorten some of your muscles, these are problems that can inhibit flexibility after 40 years of age. this process makes you predispose to muscle strains or tears, if you make any awkward or sudden movements. But also as my post’s title indicates , you can lose flexibility as you age, because of the early stages of arthritis. However, when you start stretching and lengthening your muscles regularly, you regain some of your flexibility.
The other big issue I want you to be aware of is the tough reality of reciprocal innervation.
This is an immutable law of how the neuromuscular system operates. This law describes a loop mediated by flexibility joint receptors in your body,that upgrade your muscles with the lengthening status of the stretch. And this is called (muscle spindles). This flexibility joint receptors, are key to protect you from injuries, while stretching.
When a muscle contracts, reciprocal inhibition was thought to inhibit the opposite muscle. This inhibition would allow movement to occur around a joint. For instance,when the quadriceps muscle contracts, the hamstring will reciprocally be inhibited, hereby allowing the knee to straighten, if this reflex loop is not functioning well, the muscles could be firing each other, and the movement would become difficult or compromise.
Imagine what happens during this innervation process if your joints are stiff and weak.
So lets, draw a plan so you can stay flexible and limber even after 40 years of age.
1-Muscle Energy Technique Stretching
This is a technique I have used with my clients for many years, with awesome results. It is also called (Postisometric relaxaion). MET targets the soft tissue primarily, also makes a major contribution toward join mobilization. When I apply MET to my clients, I use very little force during the isometric or contacting phase. You basically need to perform some kind of isometric movement before stretching the muscle. The stretch is often done passively. Because this technique was develop in osteopathic medicine, its primary goal is joint mobilization. Remember like in the picture below. You contract, then you stretch!.
Propioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. This is a good technique you can use. The problem is that you need a partner, rather therapist or someone who really knows what he is doing. This a technique that I love, because focuses on spiral movements with an isometric contraction prior to the stretch to achieve greater gains, than those that would be achieve with stretching alone.
As explained, pnf stretching is done on spiral, diagonal movements, the originators of this technique, found that physical and sports activities are spiral, diagonal in nature. They defined these, mass movement patterns. As various combinations of motion, that require shortening and lengthening reactions of many muscles of varying degrees. The spiral diagonal character of normal movement arises from the design of the skeletal system, and the placement of the muscles in it. The muscles spiral around the bones from origin to insertion, and, therefore, when they contract they tend to create the spiral in motion. To explain this better, these are the motions require, when you comb you hair, swing a golf club, or kick a ball, all have spiral, rotational or diagonal components. That is, they occur not in straight lines, but through several planes of motion. As you can see on the picture below : the bowler’s arm isn’t moving forward, but also diagonally up and across the body. You will also see the spiral component of her motion if look at the rotation of the arm. Spiral-diagonal motion is also taken place at her other arm and left leg!.
Try this method, and guarantee you, feel better in little time. With more elasticity and better range of joint motion!.
This technique refers to the ability to actively bring a limb through its full range of motion. Dynamic stretching is usually perform as part of a warm up. Prior to exercise, and typically includes, those muscles involve in the exercise or activity to be performed. I like this technique a lot. Because allows your body to generate heat inside the joint and more blood to circulate in it as well. Increases range of motion and is not ballistic. You can use the following exercises as an example:
Front walking lunges. Perform slow 10 or 20 reps and 2 sets.
Back walking lunges. About 30 secs.
Front walking lunges with a trunk rotation. 1 min.
Front walking kicks with knee straight. Perform slow. 20 times.
Lateral walking lunges.
4-Swimming, Or exercise in the water.
This is an underrated activity, still many folks over 40, have taken for granted. I have tried this myself and I can attest for this. Swimming 6 miles a week I feel more limber and elastic. Better yet. The arthritis foundation of America, has written many times in their journal that exercise in water support your joints and freedom of movement. Take a dive in the water!. If you are not a good swimmer, participate in organizing classes at your local pool.
5-Use super foods to reduce inflammation and improve elasticity.
These are 10 foods that should be in your shopping list all the time to become more flexible and pain free:
Rose hip oil
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