Thursday, 17 of January of 2019

Tag » flexibility

Staying Flexible As We Age

As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) notes, while there may be not be a fountain of youth, staying active through regular exercise that promotes stretching and flexibility can offer many anti-aging benefits. Aerobic activity that raises the heart rate is important for fitness and conditioning, but stretching is just as vital for good health.

Gentle exercise stretches the muscles, reduces tightness and tension, and increases blood flow. It promotes flexibility in the joints, which improves our range of motion and can lessen many common aches and pains. The repetitive motion of exercise also promotes the body’s natural process of lubricating joint surfaces, says the AAOS.

Here are additional reasons why stretching and staying flexible is important no matter what your age.

Regular exercise and stretching helps maintain balance, which reduces the risk of falling.

Exercise stimulates muscle growth, counteracting the tendency to lose muscle mass with age. Muscles that are toned and strong reduce stress on the joints.

Stretching improves the flexibility and elasticity of tendons and ligaments, lowering the risk of sports-related injuries.

Exercise increases bone mass, density and overall strength, which may prevent osteoporosis and decrease the potential for fractures later in life.

When stretching, the Mayo Clinic suggests following proper technique for the best results. Perform a low intensity exercise like brisk walking for five to ten minutes to warm up muscles before stretching, making sure that when you are stretching, you don’t bounce or push it until you feel pain, which can cause small muscle tears. Stretch the calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders – the major muscle groups. And remember to stretch both sides of the body equally.

Not all exercise is equal. The AAOS cautions again being a “weekend warrior.” Fast-paced, competitive activity on the weekends only can do more harm than good and can put you on the path for developing injuries ranging from stress fractures to torn or inflamed tendons and ligaments. It’s much better to take a short time every day for gentle stretching and moderate exercise.

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in treating musculoskeletal injuries that affect the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, joints and cartilage. Dr. John Kagan has more than 20 years experience treating patients of all ages with orthopedic-related conditions. Learn more about his expertise at

4 Components of a Good Exercise Program

Many people think of fitness only in terms of strength training and cardio, but flexibility and balance are critical, too. Here’s a look at what each of these four components bring to a well-rounded fitness program.

Strength Training: Resistance machines, lifting weights, pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups strengthen the bones and muscles, sculpt the body and decrease body fat. Core strength training, which refers to the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and pelvis, keeps the back strong and prevents injury.

Cardio: The vigorous, sustained action of aerobic exercise increases the heart rate, making the heart more efficient, and it improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and energy to the tissues. Swimming, running, dancing, brisk walking, climbing stairs, tennis and bicycling are good cardiovascular exercises.

Flexibility: Regular stretching improves muscle and joint flexibility, reduces tension in the body and enhances range of motion. Yoga and tai chi are good choices to improve flexibility. Always stretch with a gentle warm-up and cool down after any type of exercise to reduce the risk of injury.

Balance: Balance training improves the body’s stability and reduces the risk of falling, especially as we age. Our sense of balance can diminish over time so be sure balance exercises are part of your overall fitness plan.

For more information on maintaining healthy muscles and bones, please call 239-936-6778 or visit

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