Before reaching for your Advil or Aleve, consider if your pain could be alleviated with better flexibility and mobility. Aches and pains in one part of your body could be caused by tightness or out-of-alignment in a different body part. While most people regard–or are in the process of incorporating–exercise as an important part of their lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for people to quickly complete or skip over stretching as part of their routine. Although it may seem insignificant, taking some time every day to stretch and work on muscle and joint stiffness could greatly help pain if you have it, while making you feel better overall.
No matter your ability level, there’s a type of yoga for you. Vinyasa flow yoga is the perfect variation to help you stretch and build your flexibility. Within this branch of yoga, teachers can switch up the poses and the flow as they see fit, meaning that you can likely choose from many different classes to suit your needs. Besides putting your body into motion, yoga allows you to focus on yourself and possibly identify where from where your pain is really coming. As with any type of exercise, start off slow and work your way up to your desired intensity level and duration of time.
Similar, but definitely different than yoga, is Tai Chi. With its slow pace, it can be a good place to start in your flexibility journey. Additionally, the relaxing nature of the practice may make it a better option for stiff joints. Check around your city for Tai Chi classes but don’t get discouraged if you can’t find anything; while a very popular practice in some cultures, it’s not as widespread as yoga has become. You can always find a video online to emulate at home, or try to find a group that practices outside of a classroom.
If you’re not interested in either Tai Chi or yoga, you can still complete plenty of basic stretching exercises at home. Once again, the Internet can be an excellent resource here: if you don’t know how to stretch a certain muscle group, a quick search online will probably inform you rather quickly. Doing exercises at home is a great way to test out different versions of Tai Chi, yoga, or other mobility exercises free of cost before you commit to any types of classes.
While they may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of your health, flexibility and mobility are vital components of your day to day activities. They both contribute to better balance, which is key for keeping good posture and even helping prevent injuries from falling or everyday actions. In the same vein, flexibility ensures mobility: it allows your muscles to keep from deteriorating, and also prevents injuries. Together, the combination of good balance, flexibility, and mobility is bound to alleviate some pain potentially caused by a lack of any of the three. Take some time out of your day to dedicate to stretching and staying limber. Doing yoga or Tai Chi will also give you the chance to practice mindfulness and focus on your mood and/or stress.
Remember to always consult your doctor regarding pain before trying to self medicate or before trying anything potentially strenuous. For any questions or comments, use the form below, shoot us an email, or tweet at us!