It is common knowledge that children are more adaptable than adults. We tend to become more rigid as we age, and actions that appeared easy when we were younger, like sitting cross-legged on the floor, become difficult once we hit 30. If you have stiff hips, tight hamstrings, or a hurting back, you should incorporate a stretching regimen into your workout. Ignore anybody who tells you that the ship has sailed—you can become more flexible at any age, though it is certainly more difficult as you get older. The essential thing to remember is that flexibility is all about consistency. Join a Yoga, dance, Pilates, or active flexibility class to see what we mean.
We dug into Naveen Sharma, Fitness Expert at Cult. fit, about why we get inflexible as we age, as well as workouts and pro suggestions for regaining flexibility beyond 30.
Why do we get more rigid as we age?
Our bodies go through a lot of physiological changes as we age, which can contribute to diminished flexibility. Sharma discusses the key reasons for adults over the age of 30 losing flexibility and range of motion.
Reduced connective tissue elasticity:
As we age, the collagen fibres in our connective tissue stiffen and become less elastic, resulting in a loss of flexibility.
Muscle mass loss:
As we become older, we tend to lose muscle mass, which can lead to weaker muscles that can’t stretch and move as readily as they used to.
As we age, the cartilage in our joints wears out, causing stiffness and a reduced range of motion. Sedentary living, a lack of physical activity, and bad posture can all lead to diminished flexibility.
As we age, the connection between the brain and the muscles becomes less effective, affecting our capacity to move and stretch.
How to become more flexible after the age of 30
As we age, our bodies naturally lose some flexibility, which can lead to stiffness, decreased range of motion, and an increased risk of injury. It is, however, never too late to begin working on restoring flexibility. Sharma offers a few pointers to get you started.
Yoga is a fantastic approach to increasing flexibility. Yoga asanas usually require holding stretches for a long time, which can help lengthen and stretch your muscles. This can assist enhance your range of motion and flexibility over time. Consider investigating wheel yoga for deeper stretches if you want to enhance flexibility and mobility in your shoulders and thoracic spine (upper back).
2. Keep hydrated
Dehydration can induce muscular rigidity and cramping, limiting flexibility. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
3. Consume a well-balanced diet
A nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will help maintain your muscles strong and flexible. Antioxidant-rich meals, such as berries and leafy greens, may be especially good for preserving muscular flexibility.
4. Limit your use of processed foods
Processed diets heavy in sugar and bad fats can increase inflammation in the body, reducing flexibility. Limit your intake of processed foods and instead focus on complete, nutrient-dense meals.
Massages can enhance blood flow to your muscles, increasing flexibility and decreasing stiffness.
6. Maintain consistency
When it comes to increasing flexibility, consistency is essential. Even if it’s only for a few minutes every day, try to include yoga in your routine. You’ll notice gains in your flexibility and range of motion with time.
5 yoga asanas to increase flexibility as you get older
Not sure where to begin? We’ve crafted a beginner-friendly Yoga programme with Sharma’s aid for individuals wishing to restore flexibility after the age of 30. For optimal results, include the following asanas in your training programme 2-3 times per week.
This Yoga practice, also known as Standing Forward Bend, serves to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back muscles. It is an excellent asana for increasing overall flexibility in the lower body, as well as for relieving tension and anxiety.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana
This asana, also known as the Downward-Facing Dog posture, is great for extending the back of the leg and the spine, which may help improve general flexibility and alleviate stress.
The Gate position stretches the body’s sides, especially the hips, waist, and rib cage. It also helps with balance and stability.
4. Ardha Matsyendrasana
This sitting twisting stance, also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes poses, increases spine flexibility and digestion. It is also claimed to stimulate the liver and kidneys.
The Bow pose is a backbend asana that stretches and strengthens the back muscles. It stimulates the digestive system and gives you more energy.