Staying Supple as we Age
Staying supple is incredibly important. We take suppleness for granted in our youth. Children seem to be able to bounce around like rubber balls. Teenagers are spry and sprightly. It’s only as we age (I’m talking about the thirties and upwards) that this seems to really diminish.
This is because skin and muscles begin to lose their elasticity after about 35, especially if certain measures aren’t taken (which we’re here to discuss, see below.) This can have a few detrimental effects.
How not staying supple can affect you
Firstly, it makes things uncomfortable. You lose the flexibility in your joints and muscles, and everything seems harder, takes more effort, and aches a lot more.
Secondly, it is dangerous. As you age, your once supple muscles and joints degrade. You lose mobility and strength. In turn, this stops you from living an active life. It also opens you up to a much greater risk of injury.
Ageing will do this by itself. However, if you’re overcoming addiction, there will be certain lifestyle factors at play that will probably exacerbate things. A lack of good nutrition and proper care can parallel addiction, especially substance addiction, which will make this loss of suppleness far more pronounced.
However, there is no need for despair. There is plenty you can do to improve your suppleness. Here, we are talking about ‘suppleness’ in terms of strength, flexibility, mobility, and muscular control. We’ve listed some common exercises below that can help you regain and/or maintain this suppleness, followed by a list of common foods and supplements which can do a lot for your flexibility.
Exercises for staying supple as you age
Exercise is incredibly important if you want to maintain your physical health. As the cliché tells us: if you don’t use it, you lose it. It’s true. However, follow the advice below – take part in one or some or all of the exercise styles and techniques – and you should find your mobility and strength increasing. Thus, you will become more supple.
1. Stretch plenty
Let’s start with the basics, the most obvious. If you want to be supple, you need to be flexible. If you want to be flexible, you need to stretch plenty so that your joints can all achieve full, healthy ranges of motion.
You should try to stretch everything at least three times per week. For best results, perform stretches as part of a cool down after exercise. However, you can stretch anytime, anywhere. Just take it a little slow if you’re stretching with cold muscles.
You will be able to find plenty of stretches for different body parts online. If you go to a gym, try asking a trainer or member of the gym staff to show you some. With each stretch, try taking your muscles, joints, and soft tissue to a point where they feel tight, but not overly so. There should never be any sharp pain.
There are plenty of useful tools you can use to make the most of your stretching. Products like stretching straps, leg stretchers, shoulder pulleys, back stretchers, foam rollers, and even inversion tables are readily accessible online.
Hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing calmly and deeply throughout.
If you do experience any pain, pull back from the stretch and, if problems persist, talk to your medical provider.
2. Warm your muscles and joints up
As above, you can always stretch cold. However, it’s far more effective to stretch warm muscles, joints, and soft tissue. You will be able to more safely take them through their full, natural ranges of motion.
In addition, warming your muscles and soft tissue up means filling them with highly oxygenated blood. This helps to keep them healthy and supple, to recover from injury, and to repair after any hard activities.
A good warm-up will meet two requirements:
Firstly, it will raise your heart rate and body temperature. You should be breathing hard by the end of it, but still, be able to speak evenly.
Secondly, it should take your muscles and joints through wide range of movement. Compound movements will work best.
Try bodyweight push ups and squats, jumping jacks, and jogging on the spot before any kind of weight lifting. Try easy rowing for ten minutes, making sure to really stretch your back and hamstrings. Or go for a few gentle lengths in the pool before picking up the pace.
Try to get a good warm up before every training session. Aim for 2-4 warm ups per week, even if you’re not taking part in any further exercise.
3. Make use of exercise aimed at staying supple
There are plenty of exercise styles that focus on suppleness as a key feature. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are perhaps the best-known examples. Any local gym or leisure centre will run classes. Council-run classes will be affordable for the price-conscious, whilst still being professionally taught and maintained.
All three will teach you strength and control, will warm you up as part of the class, will teach you how to breathe and move best for suppleness, and will push your body to wide ranges of motion in a safe environment.
4. Take to the pool
Exercise in water has many benefits. It can be fun, it’s very safe, with low impact on the joints, and can train you for cardiovascular fitness, strength, endurance, and mobility all at once. It is great for staying supple.
Swimming is, of course, a good option. However, most pools will run various aquarobics programs and similar classes. A professional, well-trained instructor will be able to keep you safe and engaged as you make the most of the training. Through it, you will be able to work on your suppleness without fear of injury or discomfort.
Foods for staying supple as you age
Exercise isn’t the whole story, however. You will make as much progress in the kitchen as you will in the gym. There are plenty of common foods and supplements you can make the most of when looking to stay supple. Include them in your cooking, take them daily, even drink some of them – just get them in and feel the relief as aching joints open up and muscles relax.
Any anti-inflammatories will help to keep you supple. If your muscles are inflamed, they won’t work properly. They will ache, they will lose strength, and they will lose elasticity. The less inflammation you can allow to take hold the better.
Certain foods are known as anti-inflammatories. Blueberries are top of the list and hailed as a bit of a superfood. They are about the best readily available anti-inflammatories that you can get. They will help your muscles and joints recover and stay supple.
Ginger is great for flexibility. A bit of a superfood, it is a solid anti-inflammatory, like ginger. It also stimulates the circulatory system. This will improve blood flow to your muscles, joints, and soft tissue, helping them to stay supple and loose.
Include ginger in your cooking. It works well in curries and stir-fries. Boil it in water with some honey for an anti-inflammatory tea. You can also buy ginger capsules for ease of use – simply take it every morning as advised on the packaging.
Oranges contain plenty of vitamin C, one of the most crucial micronutrients for overall health. It combats damaging free radicals. These free radicals can impair mobility over time.
Your body will produce more free radicals both as you exercise and as you age. Add oranges and orange juice to your diet to recover more quickly from exercise and to keep yourself supple as you age.
Fish and fish oil
Fish is another superfood. It is rich in essential amino acids and omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids help to decrease joint pain whilst improving mobility and flexibility, among a laundry list of additional benefits.
If you can, eat plenty of fish. Cod and salmon are perfect. Consider supplementing, too. You can either choose generic omega 3 supplements (good for a veggie option) or go with cod liver oil capsules.
Watermelon doesn’t get the same prestige as some of the items on this list. That’s a real shame, as it represents a fantastic resource in any balanced diet – especially if you’re trying to stay supple as you age.
It includes plenty of water which, as we will see, is important for staying supple. It also contains the amino acid L-citrulline. This can assist with post-workout recovery, allowing for less soreness when you’ve pushed yourself a bit hard.
It’s also low in sugar, with around half the amount as an equivalent serving of grapes or pear.
Turmeric is very much in fashion these days. Talk to any well-being type and they will extoll its virtues.
However, it isn’t a passing fad. The science underpinning this newfound popularity is solid. Turmeric can bring about many benefits, including improved skin quality, heightened mood, and, of course, greater suppleness.
It works like ginger, giving a fantastic anti-inflammatory effect whilst also stimulating the circulatory system. It has also been linked with greater muscular repair and recovery.
Try it in curries or soups or buy it as a supplement in capsule form.
Hydration is key to staying supple as you age. Your body is over three-quarters water – accordingly, your muscles contain, and need, a lot to function properly. This includes muscle elasticity – you won’t achieve healthy levels if you don’t drink enough.
Drinking plenty of water will maintain this elasticity. It will keep you safer from injury, will boost athletic performance, and will ward off cramps. It will also keep you in good cognitive health, which will be crucial to maintaining balance and proprioception.
Try drinking around 8 glasses of water per day. Also pack your diet with high-water foods – fruits like watermelon, oranges, and tomatoes, as well as plenty of soups and broths. Don’t wait until you get thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you will already be dehydrated. Drink moderate amounts consistently throughout the day.
Staying supple as you age: the bottom line
Follow the advice in this article if you want to maintain suppleness as you age. Try to be as active as possible, taking part in plenty of warming, full range of motion exercises. Warm up beforehand, stretch afterwards, and stretch plenty throughout the week, even on non-training days.
Pack your diet with all the goodies above. They will naturally improve your suppleness without you even trying. For the sake of a few added ingredients into your regular diet, a few more glasses of water, and maybe a supplement or two, you can safeguard your health and suppleness for years to come.
You will also find helpful and natural ways of staying supple within our Wellness Hub, which is dedicated to your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Access unlimited Yoga stretches and poses as well as instructor-led exercise classes by subscribing.
Read more :
Get fit after fifty: it’s easier than you think
- 10 Stretches To Help You Stay Limber And Agile As You Age https://commhealthcare.com/10-stretches-to-help-you-stay-limber-as-you-age/