Remember the days when bending down to touch your toes was as easy as”¦that? Now that you’re older, moving your body in certain ways may be trickier, especially if you’re not active or haven’t spent much time stretching over the years. I grew up involved in cheerleading and gymnastics, so bending and stretching was a part of my normal routine. But today, flexibility is something I work on maintaining””not because I’m still cheering sports teams from the sidelines, but because staying flexible is good for my health.
Besides making it easier to do everyday things, from lifting kids to carrying groceries to simply getting out of bed in the morning, flexibility has a number of important health benefits. Stretching regularly can help:
- Prevent injuries, both in the gym and at home, whether you’re reaching for something, bending to pick something up or simply walking around.
- Support better posture, which in turn helps reduce stress on certain muscles while also maximizing joint strength.
- Improve sports and fitness performance and your strength-training efforts.
- Reduce chances of experiencing back pain (both occasional and chronic).
- Maintain joint range movement and prevent loss of mobility (and therefore loss of independence) over time.
Stretching doesn’t take long””all you need is a few minutes a day””and it can be done anywhere. Try leaving a fitness mat set up in your home as a reminder to squeeze it in. If you work out, incorporate stretching into your warm-up routine, and spend a few minutes stretching after exercise, which will help prevent soreness and stiffness.
Another way to support flexibility is to take a joint health supplement such as Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM. This triple-nutrient formula contains natural ingredients that help support healthy joints and supply some of the building blocks needed to repair the body’s tissues.*
You could also start your day with a cup of Yogi Joint Comfort Herbal Tea. It’s low in caffeine and made with joint-friendly ingredients, such as turmeric and yucca, to help you move freely throughout the day.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.