Regaining Flexibility

Ask the Expert

Q:

As a teenager, I participated in many hours of dance lessons, so I was extremely flexible. How can I regain some of that flexibility on my own at age 40?


A:

As we age, flexibility tends to decrease due to reduced physical activity and changes in the elasticity of soft tissues. Stretching increases flexibility and should be part of your daily routine.

First, warm up your muscles with a little movement. Do static stretching, in which you slowly stretch the muscle to the point right before you feel discomfort, then hold it. Perform stretches at least two to three days a week, preferably more often.

Here's a good stretch for your hamstring muscles:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs out to the side in a V-shape.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and your abdominal muscles tight.
  • With your back straight, bend forward at the waist until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.
  • Do not allow your back to bend.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Perform each stretch two to four times.
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