“Ahh it is just my age.” How many times have you used that excuse recently?
If you have found yourself saying that or promising that you will start working out and stretching soon, listen up and get ready to start limbering up for “if we do not use it we will lose it.”
Understanding Joint Flexibility
Some people experience increasing musculoskeletal joint stiffness as they get older. We find that our shoulders, knees, and ankles are not as flexible as they used to be. It has become more difficult to bend over and pick up a dropped object. We have noted that it is uncomfortable to turn our head around to see the car in the next lane. The bad news is that, left untreated, our joints will get stiffer as we get older. Ignored, our joints will lose a large amount of mobility. However, the good news is there’s plenty you can do to help prevent this. You can regain and retain much of your youthful flexibility, but only if you are willing to be proactive.
Joints such as the shoulder, knee, and ankle are lubricated by synovial fluid. The Synovial fluid keeps the joints moist, provides oxygen and nutrition, and washes away toxic end-products of the normal metabolic processes. The joints in our spine are also lubricated and maintained in this way. However, aging reduces the amount of available synovial fluid. The normal aging processes also increase the thickness of the remaining synovial fluid. Essentially, you have less lubricant available and the lubricant that you do have is thicker. The unfortunate result is stiffer joints, throughout your entire body.
Ready for Action
One way to combat such physiologic aging is to keep active. This is a pretty big task for the people of today, in a world in which most of our time is spent at a desk or sat down. Our bodies were designed for hard, physical work, but as we have evolved from an agrarian to a more industrial society, and in recent times from an industrial to a service-based society, the type of work has changed dramatically. When we are not typing on a computer, we are at home watching TV or playing games on our electronic devices. None of these activities involves any actual active motion. If we want to look after our bodies, we’re going to have to be proactive about finding the time to do so.
So let us create time for exercise. Almost any type of exercise helps synovial fluid to become more available which allows the synovial fluid to be pumped into joint spaces and increases the lubrication into the joints. Exercise also raises the core temperature of the body, which subsequently decreases the viscosity of synovial fluid. The end product is increased joint flexibility. This benefit is, more often than not, experienced immediately. The benefit will be long-lasting, but only if you continue to exercise regularly.
Good Advice for Maximum Benefits
Thirty minutes of exercise per day, 5 times a week, will help us maintain as much joint flexibility as possible. Switching between a cardiovascular exercise day and a strength training day is the optimal exercise program. Yoga can give a total body workout which uses cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. The types of exercise you do are not as significant as the long-term consistency of the exercise. Regular, vigorous exercise, will provide great benefit, not only will it improve your joint flexibility, but it will also help to improve your general health and wellness!
We Can Help!
As we begin to get moving or have avoided moving due to the pain and restrictions you may need a helping hand.
Chiropractic care can be that hand (or two) that you need.
One of the great benefits and focuses of Chiropractic care is improved flexibility of spinal joints. A loss of the spinal vertebral motion can lead to spinal muscle tightness and pain, which generally results in various other physical problems. For example, headaches, lack of restful sleep, and increased irritability may all have a link with a loss of spinal flexibility.
By increasing the mobility in your neck, mid back, and lower back, chiropractic care helps your body function more efficiently. By removing the sources of the musculoskeletal irritation, chiropractic care can also reduce internal physiologic stress. Some benefits may include improved peace of mind, and a better response to your home and work environment.
So if you are ready to jump into action, call us today so we can help you restore optimal function for optimal health!
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam