Having loose, limber muscles is crucial for being able to exercise safely and without injury. It’s also important for making sure that daily activities don’t cause strain on the body. Keeping muscles limber, however, is often easier said than done.
There are some great tips that can help make sure muscle stay limber and healthy:
Most people understand that stretching is important before diving into an exercise routine (pending what your program is, sometimes stretching prior to resistance is NOT optimal!). Many, however, don’t realize just how important doing a few stretching exercises everyday can be for maintaining limberness and preventing injury.
It’s a good idea to consider doing a few simple stretches several times a day. Doing so can keep muscles limbered up while making sure normal, natural movements don’t accidentally cause strain. Here are the times when stretching can be very beneficial:
- Shortly after waking up to get the body loosened up and moving properly
- After sitting down for any extended period of time;
- Before performing any activity that calls for physical strain.
It’s a simple fact that younger muscles are naturally more limber than older muscles. With this in mind, people of different ages should consider holding stretches for slightly different times. Here’s how to get the maximum effectiveness out of stretching exercises at different ages:
- Under 40 – People under 40 do tend to be more naturally limber. With this in mind, stretches should be held for about 30 seconds each (or ballistic, resisting stretches). Do keep in mind that just because the body is more limber that skipping stretches still isn’t a good idea. Stretches help prepare the body for exercise and exertion. They also assist in increasing circulation to the body’s different muscle groups.
- Over 40 – Somewhere around 40, the muscles will start to lose their natural pliability. To ensure that limberness remains, increase the time for holding or ballistic (resisting stretches, active) stretches to 60 seconds. If this is initially painful or hard to complete, gradually work up to the 60-second mark.
Keeping the entire body properly hydrated and fueled is important not only for overall health, but also muscle health. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water to help keep muscles healthy and more limber.
Limber muscles are vital for supporting health and the ability to exercise and move safely and without injury. Building stretches into the regular routine can help out a great deal on this front. Just remember that muscles also need good fuel to do their jobs properly.