Have you noticed that one sign of age is shuffling? As we age, we might find ourselves taking smaller and smaller steps…but why? Are we worried about balance? Does it take more energy to pick up your feet and take bigger steps? Shuffling isn’t an age-related issue; the actual answer may surprise you.
Many people end up shuffling because of a loss of flexibility in our hips. As we age, our hip flexors, a group of muscles that attach the torso to the top of the legs, shorten and tighten and limit the range your legs can take. It can be caused by too much sitting at a desk, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, just to name a few. Runners also often end up with the same issue, which can be caused by repetitive motion, wrong support in running shoes (poor biomechanics), over-energetic crunches, etc.
If you suffer pain check out this article Back Pain and Poor Posture.
why don’t we stretch?
It’s probably a lot like flossing – people don’t know how or feel they don’t have the time to do it. Harvard Health Publishing suggests that flexibility is essential for our health at any age. It can reduce the possibility of pain and injury and increase blood supply to the muscles, tissues, and your body. Stretching can relieve the stress placed on our body, improve posture, increase joint motion and overall quality of life. A well-stretched muscle can easily achieve a full range of motion.
A panel of experts with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reviewed a wide range of studies and agreed that for optimal results holding a stretch for 60 seconds on each exercise or 15 seconds three times a week would be more ideal. Be sure to warm up 5 to 10 minutes before stretching to get blood and oxygen to your muscles. Stretching is a great post-workout cool-down.
By doing a little research you can find multiple stretches you can practice. Please note that any new activity should never substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or qualified clinician.
Below find a few stretches that you could add to your weekly routine.