Health benefits of maintaining strength and flexibility
Taking that 20-minute walk every day is great exercise but it may not be enough to keep you fit. As people age, they begin to notice increased stiffness in their joints, arthritic pain and loss of strength despite being faithful to regular aerobic exercise. This happens because at the age of 50, muscle mass loss begins to occur even in very active adults. However, growing old does not have to mean losing strength and energy. With attention to flexibility and strength training, adults can keep their muscles strong and healthy for years to come.
What is flexibility?
Each time you move, the muscles and tendons lengthen and stretch to allow a range of motion. If these muscles and tendons aren’t stretched regularly, movement becomes limited. Simply stretching all of the major muscle groups for at least 10 minutes twice a week can help maintain flexibility. Stretching can also improve posture, release muscle tension and soreness, increase circulation and improve balance, which is a big return for 10 minutes of stretching twice a week.
It is best to perform stretching activities after aerobic activity when the muscles are warmed up. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you stretch a muscle for about 30 seconds. The idea is to feel tension in the muscle, not pain. The muscle groups to address are in the neck, shoulders and upper arms, chest, ankles, hamstrings, quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thigh), hips and lower back.
What is strength training?
When muscles are exercised against an opposing force, it makes then stronger. The term “strength training” is often applied to lifting weights but there are other ways to strengthen muscles. The phrase “use it or lose it” truly applies to muscle strength. Exercising muscles with strength training can help regain loss muscle strength and slow future loss. Keeping muscles strong can improve mobility, decrease bone loss, reduce depression and combat cognitive decline. As with flexibility exercise, strength training should be done at least twice a week.
Strength training exercises
If you haven’t done strength training in the past, don’t buy barbells to get started. Before you handle extra weight, you must be sure your muscles are strong enough to handle your own body weight. Exercises like squats, lunges or push-ups can be a good starting point for beginners. Be kind to your joints and don’t overdo it. To be a muscle strengthening exercise, the movement must be repeated until it is challenging. Many people exercising with elastic bands, known as resistance bands, find them to be very effective. Even heavy gardening with lots of shoveling can help build muscles if done regularly. Remember to strengthen all of the muscle groups including legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms. The best plan for starting strength training or flexibility training is to speak with your doctor or physical therapist about the safest choices based on your health.
Maintaining your health
The human body is a wonderful machine as long as it is well maintained. It is challenging to be aware of all aspects of good health. Everything from exercise to proper diet have many parts that the average person may not know about. After a medical event like surgery or illness, there are even more things that must be considered to get healthy again. Instead of wondering what steps to take, many people wisely choose to recover in a short-term care facility where there are experienced professionals present around-the-clock who can guide them on the fastest and safest path to recovery.
One of the premier facilities for delivering this high level of care is Whitehall of Deerfield. Receiving Medicare’s highest rating in its five-star quality rating system of rehabilitation facilities, Whitehall of Deerfield provides a full range of therapies targeted to meet each guest’s individual needs. A clinical nurse liaison completes an assessment to find out areas that need attention. Then physical, occupational and speech therapists work one-on-one with guests up to seven days a week. A state-of-the-art orthopedic rehabilitation center, along with rehab gyms, provide all the equipment needed to reach your highest level of independence and functioning.
This consistent, attentive and compassionate care is provided by everyone from the concierge to the nursing staff. Guests enjoy world-class amenities in a deluxe setting that is rarely found in health care. Beautifully landscaped grounds, rooms decorated with lavish woodwork, tasteful decor, a sun-filled solarium give the feel of a hotel get-away during a stay at Whitehall of Deerfield.
Whitehall of Deerfield also provides the strictest level of safety and infection control, offering you a short-term stay in its separate infection-free, post-hospital wing with a specially trained, dedicated staff. Whitehall of Deerfield also provides routine facility-wide COVID-19 testing and ongoing patient and staff monitoring to ensure your health and safety.
When it comes to choosing an environment that enhances recovery, Whitehall of Deerfield is the choice for qualified compassionate care in elegant surroundings. To learn more, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.