By David Jung:
Most people are under the impression that stiffness is something that just happens as you get older. There’s definitely some truth to this opinion, but joint stiffness isn’t always related to your age.
It is true that joints and muscles can feel stiff when you get older if you aren’t exercising properly. It’s also true that joints can become less flexible with age as the amount of lubricating fluid inside them diminishes, and cartilage becomes thinner the older you get, but there are still other factors that must be considered.
·Not getting enough fluids and being dehydrated can cause muscle stiffness. Muscles are active tissues. That means that they require a lot of water in order to work properly.
·Inactivity can cause muscle stiffness too. Leaving muscles in one place for too long – such as sleeping, sitting in a chair, or driving for a long period of time – causes muscle stiffness.
·Stress can be another factor to consider. Our bodies will tighten when we are dealing with a lot of stress. It’s preparing to for a “flight or fight” situation. A prolonged state of stress will leave you with this tight posture, which puts a lot of strain on muscles.
Now you know why you are feeling stiff, you must be wondering what can be done to reduce stiffness – and the side-effects associated with it. Here are five quick and simple things you can do to reduce the amount of muscle stiffness in your life no matter how old you are;
Stretching daily is key. Even if it’s just ten minutes of stretching in the morning when you wake up and another ten minutes before going to bed. Gentle stretching before bed helps you get to sleep faster and improves the quality of sleep too. There’s no need for any special equipment either and it can all be done in the comfort of your own home.
Aim to walk for at least ten minutes a day (20 minutes is better if you can do it). There are lots of ways you can fit a walk into your day with a little creativity. Have to make a long phone call? Pull out your mobile phone and do it while walking.
3. Avoid Sitting For Too Long
Believe it or not, you’re better off lounging and stretching out on a sofa than you are sitting on it for a long period of time. The human body isn’t designed for sitting, and stretching like this gives the muscles and joints a lot of relief, particularly after a long day sat in the office.
4. Have a Warm Bath
Put baking soda or Epsom salt in your bath too. The heat and the baking soda/salt combine to provide plenty of relief to muscles and calms your mind. It’s the ideal way to rest, relax, and unwind after a long day before going to bed.
5. Drink Lots of Water
Your muscles are made up of 70% water. It only makes sense that drinking plenty of water helps to keep the body hydrated and working properly. My tip is to keep a glass of water by your bed ready for when you first wake up. That way, the first thing you do each day is to have a drink of water. It’s a great way to kickstart the day.
It’s sad that so many people accept that stiffness is just something that naturally comes with being older and that you can’t do anything about it. Joint stiffness in the necks, shoulders, knees, and back is a sign that you have to do something.
So there are the five things you can do to reduce stiffness and keep it from making your daily activities harder than they need to be. Even better, they are so simple that they can be integrated into your daily life right now.
Don’t tell yourself that stiffness is just part of life. It’s not something that you have to live with. Not doing anything about the stiffness you feel will only make it worse and impair your ability to move properly and freely.