The start of a new year brings a renewed purpose for self-improvement and personal growth. Health and exercise are usually a part of that vision for progress. Whether you have an already established exercise routine or are just starting, I encourage you to include two key components of fitness- balance and flexibility, as part of your goal!
Balance and flexibility are vital aspects of physical fitness as they help minimize the risk of injuries and falls. Balance- our ability to control our body’s position is used in everyday activities like walking, climbing steps, getting in and out of the tub, bed, or car. Having good balance contributes to coordination and stable joints. Yoga can be a great way to improve balance and coordination. If yoga isn’t for you, there are a variety of other simple exercises you can do to improve balance.
Flexibility refers to the movement of the joint through its full range of motion. Think about a time when you may have slept with your head in an awkward position only to wake up the next day with a sore neck and an inability to turn your head to look over your shoulder. While this is an obvious example of how a limited range of motion can lead to pain and compromise our ability to go about our daily routine, we may not notice our flexibility waning over time. Stay flexible to preserve the health of your joints, cartilage, and surrounding tissue.
Work on your flexibility by stretching daily. Stretching will help minimize muscle tightness and increase mobility. Make sure to warm up the body before stretching. A ten-minute walk is a good way to warm up before stretching or opt for a post-workout stretching session. Stretching after exercising is a great way to cool down the body and release muscles to avoid being sore the next day. On sedentary days, stretching can go a long way in relieving muscle tightness and tension that may result from poor posture or sitting for a long time.
Set reminders for balance and flexibility exercises and enjoy the journey to a stronger, healthier, and safer you!