There comes a point when Snap, Crackle, and Pop are not just three elves on our morning cereal box, they are the sounds our body makes when we get up out of bed in the morning. It has always been an accepted part of growing old, and with technology pulling us away from physical activity, the sounds are only getting louder. So what can we do to counteract this? Is there a way to stay younger for longer? The answer is yes, there are ways to slow down the effects of aging. Better yet the answer is not an expensive rinse cream, or any expense at all. All you need is a schedule and a place to move around. So how do we keep the gears spinning yet slow down the clock hands? Let’s stretch a bit.
No I am not telling you to warm up, I mean stretching in general. As time goes on, we start noticing our joints will start aching, stiffness will begin to settle in, and overall it may feel harder to simply move around. At one time it was believed this was an inevitability. Today though, it has been found that simply stretching, and doing exercise can help combat the effects of old age on the body. Many of the problems associated with old age stems from inactivity. You have likely heard Newton’s First Law of Motion, stating that an object in motion will tend to stay in motion, where as an option at rest will tend to stay at rest. Although we are highly complex and living objects, the idea still stands. If you want to stay feeling young and lively, you need to stay active, and stretching is a great place to start.
Not only does stretching help stop stiffness and discomfort, it has a list of benefits that anyone can enjoy, including:
- Prevent cardiovascular disease
- Delay the onset of diabetes
- Diminish the symptoms of depression and improve mental health
- Relieve the pain from arthritis
- Diminishes the risk of falling.
So if you are ready to leave Snap, Crackle, and Pop to breakfast cereal, then make yourself a spot, take a deep breathe, and let’s start stretching.
Hand Behind Back: For this stretch, we will gasp a towel in our left hand, and place it behind our head. With our right hand, reach behind your back and grab the towel. While letting the right arm relax, use the left arm to lift up on the towel until you start feeling resistance. Remain in this position for about 30 seconds before switching sides.
Doorway Stretch: For this exercise, stand in an open doorway, and lift your arms as far as is comfortable, and press them against the door frame. Take a small step through the frame until you feel resistance. Remain in this position for another 30 seconds.
Hamstring Stretch: Find a chair or stool that you can comfortably set one foot on top of. We will begin with our right foot. Place your right foot on top of the chair or stool, and straighten the leg. Now keeping your back straight, lean forward toward your foot. If necessary, you can use your hands to help keep your knee from bending. Do this again until you feel resistance and hold for 30 seconds. Once this is done, repeat with the other leg.
Calf Stretch: Facing a wall, place both hands on the wall, and move your right foot back, keeping the toes pointed forward and heel on the ground. Keeping your right knee straight, begin to lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating with the other side.
These stretches are just a beginning for your routine. You don’t want to jump full speed into stretching, it is better to work gradually into it as to avoid sustaining injury. It is also important not to push your limits too far. A regular stretching schedule will help you bend further, and feel less resistance as time passes. Once you feel confident in your stretching, you can begin to add more stretches to your routine.
Of course, stretching is not the only options available to you when it comes to feeling feeling and living better. There are other methods that you can incorporate into your life with your stretching.
Massage Therapy: A licensed massage specialist will help to loosen joints, reduce stiffness, and improve blood flow. Massage therapy combined with exercising, you will find you’re able to stretch further and for longer.
Acupuncture: The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is used to improve blood flow and reduce stiffness in joints, along with other healthy benefits. A welcomed companion to stretching and exercise.
Better Dietary Habits: If you are a heavy coffee drinker, look at supplementing some cups of coffee with cups of tea, especially green tea. Green tea is commonly seen as the most healthy form of tea, high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Meals that include fatty fish, whole grains, or dark green vegetables can also reduce inflammation.
Walking: A simple series of bodily movement that, quite frankly, we don’t do enough of. Walking is a wonderful exercise for a multitude of reasons. Mainly because it is not strenuous and it gets us outside for a bit. Start adding walks to your daily schedule, even if it is just a five minute stroll up and down the street.
Natural healing is a sometimes overlooked practice. Fortunately for us, there is a licensed massage therapist Daytona Beach can rely on for various forms of natural healing. Dr. Beth is an expert in massage therapy, acupuncture, and other natural ways of staying both healthy and active. If you are ready to rewind the clock a little and start living better, contact Dr. Beth Stephenson today to schedule a massage therapy or acupuncture session.