Inflexibility refers to the reduction of the normal range of motions in any of the joints.
When we’re young, many of us never ever think about flexibility as an issue. But then things change and we start wondering things like, ‘Why that bottom shelf seems lower than it used to be?”
Our bodies tend to lose flexibility as we age but that’s not the only reason you are losing your flexibility.
Below are some of the reasons why you are not as flexible as you used to be and a couple ideas for how you can regain the flexibility you once had.
Young people are generally more flexible than older individuals unless the older individual has spent time cultivating flexibility.
As you age, your body undergoes a slow but progressive loss of skeletal muscles. The lubricating fluid inside your joints starts degrading, the joint cartilages start thinning, and ligaments shorten, making your joints feel stiff.
The replacement of muscle fibers with collagenous and fatty fibers as you age also reduces your flexibility.
That can be challenging for sure, but no one is doomed to inflexibility since it is something you can readily work on.
2. Tissue bulk
Excessive adipose tissue (fat) or muscle bulk can reduce your normal range of motion.
For example, people with large pectoral muscles are likely to have difficulty raising their arms above their heads. Huge biceps and deltoids muscles can make it much harder to stretch the triceps – especially if one muscle group is being exerted significantly more than another.
You should incorporate stretching and bodybuilding exercises together. That will counteract the tightness caused by bodybuilding alone.
3. Activity level
The more active you are, the more flexible you become – as long as your activity includes using a full range of motion.
Lack of exercise reduces your joint’s range of motion. Yoga and strength exercises increase flexibility. If you were an active athlete, and it happens that you no longer have time for exercising, you are likely to lose your range of motion.
Luckily, you can quickly start to regain flexibility by incorporating even a small amount of activity back into your life (like a short walk in the morning or a few minutes of stretching before sitting down for dinner).
4. Injury and joint dislocation
Overstretching can tear your ligaments and tendons. So be careful and pay attention. We’re not meant to be rubber bands so stretch gently and with awareness.
During the healing period from overstretching, you might lose some range of motion. Stretching after a joint strain leads to pain, inflammation, and other discomforts.
Unfortunately, you might not be able to regain your flexibility after an injury if the tendons did not heal correctly. So be careful and seek professional attention to make sure you handle your recovery properly.
A joint dislocation can temporarily immobilize and deform your joint. When not treated properly, the joint’s flexibility is affected even after healing. You should seek medical attention right away if you have a joint dislocation or a broken bone.
5. Weight gain and obesity
Carrying extra body weight limits your flexibility. That’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone.
You are putting more stress on your joints, which can result in injuries. Overweight people have a limited range of motion because their joints and bones are struggling to hold the extra weight.
This isn’t meant to shame anyone but your body will definitely thank you if you keep it within a normal, healthy weight range.
Inflexibility not only affects your range of motion – it increases the risk of injuries, affects your posture and balance and reduces your physical performance. It is something you should start working on immediately.
Once you realize that you are losing your flexibility, you need to take some corrective measures such as dieting and proper exercise. You should also consider enlisting help from professionals like massage therapists or a chiropractor that can save you a lot of time by releasing tension and constrictions from your body.
Yoga and strength exercises can help you regain your flexibility and decrease the risk of injury. You also need to be careful. When your joints become excessively flexible, it increases the risk of injuries.
So don’t attempt to stretch your muscles too much! Better to accept your limits and work on improving slowly. Start with entry-level or beginner exercises before attempting the advanced level exercises.