How to prevent stiffness as you age | Sunday Observer

How to prevent stiffness as you age

30 May, 2021

Although we can do everything in our power to live healthy lives, it’s impossible to fully delay aging. Some bodily processes begin to break down over the years, and it’s just part of life. For example, the complaint around progressive stiffness is a completely valid one.

As the body grows old, our fibroblasts struggle to make glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) at a consistent rate. Unfortunately, these highly polar sugar units are the very products that attract water to lubricate joints and improve shock absorption. Consequently, there is less water in your cartilage, bones, and muscles causing increased stiffness.

Due to the decreased production of GAGs, we notice the body’s aches and pains more often. Once we feel discomfort, we often make the mistake of lying low and not taking any risks to stop further complications. I know of many clients who have halted their running because of stiffness, and unfortunately, they have it all backward. This sedentary habit only compounds soreness as you prevent your tissues from moving naturally.

Although we can’t completely stop aging, we do have access to a powerful tool for maintaining activity for years to come…movement. The simple act of getting out of your chair, or going for a brief walk can make all the difference. It’s time to look at three practical ways to move more throughout your day to fight back on body stiffness. You may just surprise yourself by how much you can control the destiny of your aging!

(1) Divide sedentary time

The biggest mistake we can make is thinking that going to the gym twice a week is all it takes to maintain joint health. The truth is, reducing stiffness and maximizing your wellness requires daily effort. Follow these seven strategies introduced by a world famous fitness guru to help you get moving more throughout your day.

1. Stand up every 30 minutes — even for 30 seconds. If there is one thing you take away from this article, please let it be this.

2. Invest in a standing desk. Just know that movement breaks are still required every 30 minutes.

3. Consider taking a brief walk on your lunch break.

4. Stand up for every phone call (if it’s not too awkward of course).

5. Combine driving with walking by parking a few minutes from your workplace.

6. Use a water bottle, but only fill it halfway. This will cause you to get up more frequently to replenish it.

7. Set timers on your phone for sedentary leisure activities. If this doesn’t fly, consider being active in front of your screen! Who says you can’t do squats while watching TV?

(2) Master the art of whole-body mobility

While standing up and going for walks can help reduce stiffness, you’ll make the most ground through an intentional mobility practice. Try doing them three to four times a week! The key with mobility is to take each movement slowly so that you’re always in control. Don’t forget to take deep breaths!

(3) Put pressure on your joints

Another huge factor around increased sedentary behavior and stiffness is osteoporosis. To delay the demineralizing of your bones, the maintenance of weight-bearing activities is absolutely key. While modifications to volume or intensity may be in order, it’s completely possible to keep on going when you follow healthy habits like the ones in this article.