Normal ageing is inescapable, but healthy ageing is by choice. It’s normal effects is unavoidable, but with healthy choices, you can control its long-term effect. One of such is the effect of regular physical activity on the mobility of joints, muscles and bones in the body. Good mobility is essential to active aging and is closely linked to good health and improved quality of life..
Mobility is the ability to effectively and safely perform the universal human movements, such as squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, crawling, and rolling, that are required for functional living.
Healthy muscles, joints and bones allows us to perform all kinds of movements without any difficulty. Good mobility is the ability to freely and easily move without any undue stress on the joints and muscles in the body. This plays out in the ability to carry out activities of daily living such as bending, lifting, twisting, turning, throwing, carrying, etc. Healthy joints are crucial in moving through all these various planes of movement.
Good mobility makes daily activities such as cleaning the kitchen, taking a bath, lifting a shopping bag, reaching the top of the wardrobe easy to do without any fear of falling or being injured. With good mobility, you can move your arm forward, backward, side-to-side, and in circles.
As we age, muscles, bones and joints undergo physiological changes that affect mobility and which can ultimately impact our Independence, hence affects our ability to carry out daily activities.
Aging affects muscle mass and strength, bone density, and can make joints stiffer and less flexible due to reduction of cartilage thickness. Reduction of cartilage thickness can result in the joints being inflamed and arthritic.
One of the ways to achieve good mobility is the inclusion of flexibility exercises. Flexibility (ability of a muscle to stretch) is needed for effective joint movements in the body, and this is achieved through stretching exercises.
Doing stretching exercises before your actual training warms up your whole body and keeps you away from accidents and injuries. They enhance the flexibility of your joint and muscles, allowing you to perform your workout smoothly. As you stretch, your physique becomes a lot more limber, resulting for you to perform a broader range of motion.
Some benefits of stretching include:
- Reduced muscle tension
- Greater range of joint movement
- Increased blood flow to parts of the body
- This increased blood flow adds to a greater amount of energy
Stretching is important for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, the effect of ageing on the joints and muscles makes it extremely important for the over 40s. Stretches can be both static and dynamic. The static stretches in this video will improve flexibility of the chest, upper back, hamstring, quadriceps, obliques, and calves.