Inactive Brits have been urged to fit stretches into their daily routine or face increasing discomfort as they age.
Fitness specialists at Vivotion.com have researched some of the best activities for loosening up the body and encouraged Brits to give them a try before they start to get aches and pains in areas they forgot they had.
The human body naturally declines in function as it ages, with ageing muscles losing mass without the right exercise, so any opportunity to reduce the speed of the process should be seized, according to experts. Flexibility of joints and muscles shouldn’t be taken for granted and noticing increased difficulty bending, moving or reaching is the cue to act before it’s too late.
Office workers who spend the day desk-bound are among the most vulnerable to stiffening joints and muscles as the years pass, but simple stretches can help sedentary Brits stay supple as they get older.
But anyone can have a go at tackling increasingly poor elasticity by rotating stiff shoulders, aching ankles and a numb neck, according to the fitness research team’s findings.
They also reminded Brits that is important not to overdo it, so only stretch to the point of brief and mild discomfort rather than pain and always ensure sufficient rest and recovery afterwards.
A spokesman from Vivotion.com says: ‘As we all age, our bodies don’t seem to function as well as they used to – but that doesn’t mean a total loss of elasticity is inevitable. The best way to steer clear of major discomfort, inconvenience or pain in older age is to get your body moving a bit more as soon as possible. Sedentary Brits, such as those stuck at a computer all day, can attempt to loosen up stiff joints and muscles by following our advice. Our specialist fitness research team have revealed how each part of the body can be stretched out – but remember not to overdo it.’
Stand up or find a backless stool, bend an arm at the elbow back towards your body and raise your elbow above your eye-line; then lean your shoulder backwards, and rotate around until it has drawn a complete circle.
Repeat this several times until the joint feels slightly more supple and then repeat the motion in a forwards direction, before following the same process with your other shoulder.
When laying in bed, turn onto your front, place your hands flatly under the pillow and rest your forearms by your shoulders; then slowly raise your shoulders (support yourself by pushing with your arms if necessary).
Hold the position for several seconds or until uncomfortable and then rest as required, before repeating the motion as many times as you can.
Sit down and fully extend your legs, one at a time, with only the heel of the foot touching the floor; then, keeping heel and bum planted, raise and lower your knee (causing a slight bend) at a comfortable pace.
Pop aching pockets of air in your finger joints by pushing down on your knuckles with the thumb of the same hand; playing an imaginary piano can also loosen your digits.
Stand upright, raise one leg behind yourself and hold the ankle against your bum; balance on the remaining grounded leg for as long as possible, leaning against a wall with the spare arm if necessary, to stretch out the raised thigh.
Face a wall, prop a heel on the ground and touch the wall with your toes; push your body weight towards the wall to feel your calf stretch, hold for several seconds and then swap legs and repeat.
Find a comfy seat, raise your lower leg off the ground and moving only your foot, draw some clockwise circles in the air (of several inches in diameter) with your big toe.
This will rotate your ankle and can then be repeated, with sufficient rest and recovery in between stages, in an anti-clockwise direction and before applying the same process to your other ankle.
Stand upright, face ahead, place your hands on your hips and spin your waist around clockwise – imagine a hula-hoop – at a comfortable pace for a minute or so, before reversing into an anti-clockwise rotation.
While either seated or standing, firmly place your right forearm on top of your head and lean to the left for a moment, before swapping to your left forearm and leaning right.
Slowly try to touch your toes in a standing position, making sure that at least your heel always remains grounded, until the back of your leg feels mildly uncomfortable, then do the same with the other leg.
Without moving your chest at all, try to touch the tip of your shoulders with your ears, to stretch the sides of your neck. To work the rear, tilt your head back to face the sky and then roll your neck several times, before repeating in the opposite direction.
Keeping your forearm still by holding it with your other hand, clench your fist and rotate your wrist in both directions before repeating on the other side.