Spry and Flexible for Life

Almost everyone knows somebody who’s “spry for their age.” There are 70-year-olds hiking up mountains, octogenarian kayakers and even marathoners who top the century mark.

More than once I’ve overheard someone commenting that these folks just have “good genes.” But they should be the rule rather than the exception. The idea that you have to grow stiff with age is actually a myth.

It’s no surprise so many people believe this myth. Mainstream medicine has been selling it for a long time. So today, I’ll share 3 secrets that can help you stay spry and flexible at any age.

Secret #1: Act like a kid.

Remember when you were in grammar school? As soon as the recess bell rang, you were out on the playground. You played baseball, tag, hopscotch, or swung on the “monkey bars” until recess was over. And as soon as school got out, you headed home to play some more. Summer vacation was 10 weeks of non-stop playtime.

Now think about what most adults do these days. We spend our days working at a desk… and many of our evening hours in front of the TV or at our computers. No wonder so many of us grow stiff and inflexible!

Spending long hours sitting causes important muscles – especially in our backs and legs – to tighten and even shorten. Basically, your body adapts to the demands you put on it. You don’t need long, flexible hamstring muscles to sit for 8 hours… so your body doesn’t waste resources developing them.

In other words, active folks over 70 aren’t out playing sports because they’re spry and flexible. They’re spry and flexible because they’re out playing sports.

But don’t worry. You don’t have to run marathons or lift weights to stay spry. Almost any physical activity will help keep you more flexible. Walking, dancing, gardening and swimming are great ways to help keep your body limber.

Secret #2: Extend your reach.

Every morning, millions of Chinese adults rise early and head to parks and other open spaces. Many of these people are well into their 70’s, 80’s and even older. But they gather each morning to perform a series of gentle exercises – called Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is actually a martial art, but the movements are slowed down so that anyone can do them. A Tai Chi routine lasts only a few minutes, but gently builds tremendous strength and flexibility. It’s effective because it gently challenges and stretches your muscles, keeping them limber and flexible.

Tai Chi is also one reason you can see so many grandparents in China striding confidently down the street.

Tai Chi isn’t the only way to maintain flexibility, though. Many forms of yoga – such as Kripalu – also gently stretch your muscles while building strength. In fact, almost any slow, gentle stretching routine can help.

Secret #3: Pamper yourself.

People seem to “store up” stress and tension in their muscles. You’ve probably felt it yourself. When you’re in a stressful situation, you feel your muscles tensing up. It’s almost as if you’re preparing for a”fight or flight” response. And that’s exactly what you’re doing.

With so much stress these days, you can wind up feeling pretty tight.

That’s why pampering yourself with an occasional therapeutic massage may be more than just pampering. A massage can help you relax and release the tension in your muscles. A skilled massage therapist can work out the “knots” in your muscles, leaving you freer, looser and more limber.

Just one caution about massages, though… Don’t get one right after you’ve engaged in vigorous exercise. Studies show post-exercise massage can actually hinder blood flow. And that can slow your body’s recovery.1

Be the Envy of Your Friends

Your hunter-gatherer ancestors remained flexible into their old age. That’s the way your body is designed to be. Best of all, even if you’ve already lost some flexibility, you can probably get it back.

You can start with just a few minutes a day. Walking is a great way to increase your activity level, because it’s a gentle challenge. Swimming is especially good if you have joint issues. Any gentle stretching routine will help.

In no time, you should begin to notice a change. The more you move, the more you’ll be able to move. The more you stretch, the more you’ll be able to stretch.

Before too long, you could be one of those folks with “good genes” everyone envies.

Stay Healthy,

Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals

1 Wiltshire, E.V., et al, “Massage impairs postexercise muscle blood flow and "lactic acid" removal,” Med Sci Sports Exerc. Jun 2010;42(6):1062-1071.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Woliner is a board certified medical physician and modern day pioneer in the world of alternative men’s health and nutritional science. Using a unique combination of modern “Western” medicine and traditional holistic healing practices, Dr.Woliner has revolutionized men’s health care treatments for many of today’s most common male health concerns – specializing in alternative treatments for Prostate enlargement (BPH) and a myriad of erectile concerns and men’s sexual health issues.