Writer: MATT EVANS Outlet: Fit and Well
If you're over 50, weight loss can be a challenge. As your body ages, you might struggle when searching for the best exercises for weight loss, as they contain lots of dynamic, high-impact exercises that might challenge your joints and range of motion. With a generally lower metabolism and stiffening muscles, it can become quite hard to stay active. Of course, if you're not active, you're not burning many calories, leading to weight gain, further muscular atrophy and a sedentary lifestyle.
Mobility training is often viewed as an afterthought to exercise, when it's thought of at all. However, if you're exercising to stay healthy, stretching should be at the forefront of your mind. A study published in the Journal of Physiology found stretching every day promotes enhanced blood flow to your muscles, keeping them healthy and oxygenated.
This is much more important than you might realise. As we get older, our muscles naturally waste away. This process, known as atrophy, makes our bodies physically weaker. As the muscles waste, they also get shorter, which accounts for the stiffness in our muscles as we age. Picture an elderly person's shuffle in comparison to a healthy middle-aged person's stride.
Stretching mitigates all this. As we stretch and lengthen our muscles, this actively fights against the shortening process. This means we have a greater range of motion for longer, allowing us to stay active well into our old age.
Is your body taking longer and longer to recover from exercise, or a long day sitting at your desk? Stretching has been found to reduce acute inflammation. The healthier and more flexible our muscles are, the more active we can be, the quicker we recover after exercise, which leads to more calories burned and weight lost in the long-term.