Although flexibility is likely to decline with age, there are lots of exercises and stretches you can do to combat this natural process.
By following a dedicated flexibility training programme, anyone can maintain high levels of flexibility and feel supple and energised.
As the title suggests, by the time we reach 50, many of us feel like we’ve “lost” our flexibility. We feel like we simply aren’t as mobile as we once were and long for that feeling of flexible movement without pain.
Being Flexible Over 50
Is it really possible to be flexible over 50? Absolutely!
As we age, muscle mass naturally declines and we lose bone density, contributing to feeling less flexible. Stretching body parts can come with lots of aches and pains, as our joints and muscles feel like they don’t belong in such positions.
A decrease in flexibility in body parts like shoulders and hips can mean reduced motion and make everyday activities slightly harder. This means exercise and sports can be even more challenging, not ideal for those looking to stay fit and healthy over 50.
Often our daily routines don’t contribute to continued flexibility. Lots of sitting, coupled with a lack of stretching can mean our muscles and joints become stiff and tight.
Prioritising flexibility is vital for over 50s. It is paramount for maintaining a healthy body and offers benefits such as:
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces pain in back, joints and muscles
- Improves posture and balance
- Improves mental wellbeing
- Corrects muscular imbalance
An inactive lifestyle is often one of the biggest culprits to poor flexibility. Continuing to play sport over 50 (check out our list of the best sports for over 50s), keeping fit and living an active lifestyle, is often the best place to start for improving flexibility.
Being active will ensure muscles are being used and forced to adapt to different positions and requirements, helping them stay supple and loose. Inactivity leads to stiffness.
Improving Flexibility Over 50 for Men and Women
The flexibility training video below highlights 3 exercises specifically for over 50s, that will help combat poor flexibility and start the journey to feeling mobile, supple and flexible!
This exercise routine can be done each morning to set you up for the rest of the day.
As well as these exercises, prehab exercises, yoga and pilates, can be great activities to help improve flexibility. This doesn’t have to mean attending classes or joining a club – lots of the most effective yoga movements can be done in the comfort of your own home, either as you wake up or before you go to bed. This can help keep the muscles working and getting used to being stretched.
For best results, this needs commitment and a long-term approach. Being flexible doesn’t happen over-night, it will likely look like lots of small improvements over a long period.
Using foam rollers and other solutions to combat the DOMS and post workout muscle soreness will also help muscles and joints recover and feel loose. Muscles are likely to feel tight after intense workouts, and this shouldn’t be confused with being inflexible. Warming up and cooling down appropriately will ensure muscle soreness is reduced and doesn’t leave you feeling tight and with reduced range of motion after a workout.