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Most people seek medical advice and support after they have a painful or debilitating issue that needs to be solved. Unfortunately, sometimes by then, it’s already too late. So it’s not only best to maintain your good condition while in a state of relative health, but it’s also much easier.

For instance, no matter where you find yourself 10 years from now, your current lifestyle will affect the difference between how much your body ages and the amount of mobility you keep into your next decade and beyond. In addition, staying active prevents you from injuries that will require therapy to correct, surgery to heal or render you all but immobile without a cane or a walker.

Imagine being a busy adult who goes from easily carrying all your heavy groceries in from the car to someone who has to park as close as possible to the stores and ask for help lifting a small case of water into your trunk. This would have a serious impact on your life, not to mention the ability to enjoy trips, explore a new city on foot or walk across an airport for vacations.

Let’s discuss in more detail why it’s worth the effort to preserve your wellbeing through your activity levels and even improve it over time, including a few ways to achieve that.

Why Take an Active Approach to Remaining Healthy?

Here at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, a lot of patients come to us already in discomfort and pain. By then, it’s time for more drastic measures to repair injuries that have interrupted an otherwise active lifestyle.

It’s all too easy to slow down as you get older, but allowing yourself to stop exercising regularly will lead to a breakdown of both your physical and mental health.

That’s why it’s imperative that you continue and build on healthy habits while you have the ability to avoid a future of pain and possible degradation that could necessitate eventual surgery.

If you’re active and relatively healthy, you’ll benefit from these tips on how to remain so or even improve your fitness and wellbeing.

Why You Should Remain Active Whatever Your Abilities

Whether you’re working on becoming more physically active with 20-minute walks each day or are an avid mover who trains for marathons, allowing yourself to slow as you age is detrimental to your health. You run the risk of becoming sedentary and all that comes with that: a doubled risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression and anxiety.

You gain a lot by staying physically active, such as improving brain health, helping to manage weight, reducing the risk of disease and strengthening your skeletal system. You improve your ability to enjoy everyday activities. Regular physical activity has immediate and long-term advantages, while exercise improves your quality of life.

Daily movement is suitable for everyone, regardless of health and physical abilities. While we need to rest, studies show that too much sitting causes many risks. Inactivity is most often to blame for losing the ability to do things as we age. Lack of physical movement also leads to more doctor visits, hospitalizations and illnesses.

10 Reasons To Be as Active as Possible

  1. Be energetic to enjoy the things you want to do
  2. Improve your balance and lower the risk of falls
  3. Reduce the risk of arthritis, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancers
  4. Sleep better at night
  5. Reduce your fatigue, stress and anxiety
  6. Maintain a healthy weight and minimize weight gain
  7. Keep steady control over your blood pressure
  8. Benefit your cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks or plan an activity
  9. Stay in a positive mood more often
  10. Keep and improve your strength to stay independent later in life

Does It Make a Difference if You’re an Athlete or Not?

No, not at all. If you’re already active, that’s wonderful! Keep yourself moving as much as possible for as long as you can. And if you’re not very active now, slowly work your way up to being moderately active each day. This will have a significant impact on your overall health, quality of life and lifespan.

Does Stretching Improve Your Health?

Yes! Stretching keeps your muscles strong and healthy, adding the flexibility you need to maintain the range of motion in your joints. Without daily stretches, your muscles will shorten and tighten, becoming unable to extend all the way. This can lead to injury, discomfort or pain. It may also lead to hunching your back or limping when walking, either of which can trigger orthopedic issues throughout your body.

Stretching increases blood flow, boosts oxygen levels and helps deliver nutrients to your muscles. It also removes waste such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and uric acid from your bloodstream.

Daily stretching provides increased comfort when performing everyday motions that may be bothering you, preventing muscle injuries and reducing the discomfort or soreness you may be feeling.

Stretch It Out Before a Workout

Stretching your muscles before exertion increases your blood flow. This increases flexibility and range of movement during your workout, leading to improved performance. Complete your stretches on all of the muscle groups you’ll be using during your workout, and be sure to stretch each side of your body equally.

Stretch Again After Exercise

Stretching out your tired and sore muscles after exertion is essential. It enhances your overall flexibility. Consider stretching a part of your well-balanced workout routine, giving it the same importance as strength and cardiovascular training.

Stretching after your workout reduces the accumulation of lactic acid throughout your body, thus reducing pain resulting from soreness days later (delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short). It also relaxes muscles that have tensed up during use.

Six Benefits of Stretching

  1. Improve posture by loosening the muscles of your back and neck
  2. Gain a wider range of motion, helping with day-to-day activities and sports
  3. Decrease back pain and encourage blood flow to the spine
  4. Prevent injury before strenuous activity
  5. Decrease muscle soreness after exercise
  6. How to Stretch

Stretching your body correctly can limit strain on your muscles and joints and will safely loosen your muscles and tendons to take on your day’s activities.

Start with a brief warmup, or you will hurt yourself by stretching cold muscles. A little movement without a lot of exertion will help. Try walking in place for 1 – 2 minutes or take a slow stroll around your room. The key here is to wake up your muscles and have your blood flowing without too much movement yet.

Now you may gradually but carefully move into your first stretch. Once you feel a slight tension in your muscle, hold that position. Avoid bouncing or dynamic movements, which can lead to overstretching and injury. Wait 15-30 seconds, and then stretch further. Release when the stretch is complete and slowly return your body to a neutral position. Repeat for the entire series.

Seven Tips for Safe Stretches

  1. Warm up a bit first, for about 1 – 2 minutes — your muscles stretch better warm
  2. Stretch only to the point of mild tension, never to the point of pain
  3. Avoid injury with good posture and form
  4. Focus on the muscle being stretched
  5. Breathe! Muscles need fresh oxygen
  6. Strive for symmetry, stretching the same muscles on both sides of your body
  7. Repeat daily to keep healthy muscles and extend your range

Ask your health practitioner here at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio for instructions on the best stretches for you to complete each day.

More Ways We Help With Your Activity Goals

Even when you’re clear on the benefits, we know it can be difficult to remain motivated to upgrade your health habits. Or maybe you’re not quite where you want to be, yet.

That’s why we created our BetterU Wellness Program for anyone wanting individualized support. We start with you where you are now in your journey and assist you to reach your health goals.

It’s especially advantageous if you’re currently experiencing chronic or acute pain, a lack of strength or mobility, or a long-term injury that causes discomfort.

Our personalized programs include:

  • 1-on-1 coaching
  • Health and wellness strategies
  • Injury prevention education
  • Recovery techniques

Visit our signup page to get started with the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio’s Better U Program, today!