General question: How to regain flexibility after years of inactivity?

Discussion in 'UK Cheerleading Training' started by BillGoats, Dec 9, 2017 at 12:17 AM.

  1. BillGoats

    BillGoats New Member

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    I'm not sure how otherwise to phrase the question in one sentence, so I'll elaborate here:

    For the last 4-5 years, I've felt gradually less flexible. This period coincides with probably the lowest level of physical activity in my life, except for bouts of weight training (which I'm currently doing and taking seriously). One problem I'm still having though is inflexibility (at least when compared to my youth state) and general stiffness. At times I've blamed it on my celiac disease (it can cause nerve damage), but apart from that I can only imagine it's due to inactivity and/or aging. I'm just 26 however, and can't imagine that age alone should do this yet!

    While playing around outside with my younger brothers, I skipped across a narrow, elevated plank and slipped off. This sprained my ankle so bad I had trouble (and pain) when walking for several days. At that point I realized something has drastically changed. Compare this to my younger days (I also played organized soccer from 5 to 17ish) - where I could pretty much fall down some stairs twice a day without any lasting issues. More recently I jogged lightly without warming up 'cause I was in a hurry. That caused a sharp sting in my ankle that could have been a sprain if I had stepped just a little bit harder on it.

    So I guess my question boils down to: Is it likely that my issue stems from inactvity, aging or a mix of both?

    **PS:** I've seen doctors on several occasions about parts of this issue, and none have concluded that anything's wrong. I'll happily go back if someone suggests it, but for now I just wanna get a general discussion going and hear some experiences.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. prest0change0

    prest0change0 New Member

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    It's a mix of both, but it's never too late to start regaining your flexibility. One thing you need to do is improve your diet, believe it or not. Diet, sleep, motivation, physical fitness, and flexibility are all inter-related.
     
  3. YogaMystic

    YogaMystic New Member

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    Just take it slowly and listen to your body. Try a gentle or restorative Yoga class.
     
  4. throwawayieruhyjvime

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    Really, as other posters, just start! Take it slow, do some yoga as that helps build strength in the stretched positions.

    There shouldn't be anything actually preventing you from starting to stretch -- the only thing holding you back is yourself. Relearn the difference between sharp bad pain when stretching, and normal stretching pain. Remember to breathe. If you feel pain in your joints when stretching, that's not good, pull up a bit. Some parts of your body will take more work to stretch and some will come faster (I gain hip flexibility relatively quickly, but back is taking years...). If you encounter any sharp, bad pain when stretching that persists (as in happens consecutive stretching sessions), see a PT.

    Have fun!
     
  5. milly_nz

    milly_nz New Member

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    Yes: age and inactivity. Nothing more serious. Which is why your doctors said so. So get on with the stretching.
     
  6. sullimareddit

    sullimareddit New Member

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    My experience is my flexibility in increasing as I age, through a combo of routine stretching before and especially after lifting workouts. Plus collagen powder has been a really big help for me (and the science does support that collagen hydroslate has a beneficial effect on cartilage). But the biggest change for me has been the adoption of targeted isometric stretching (google FRC or Kinstretch, I have no affiliation but those methods work for me). I move every joint, every day, paying attention to what's stuck or creaky (and working it). Plus, for me joints point to their neighbors. My golfer's elbow emanates from shoulder disfunction, for example.

    Will say that at 55+, my recovery time is longer than it used to be. Also, when I get an injury, I let the acute phase pass and then I work hard to bulletproof the area to prevent it from becoming chronic (ankles would be a good example--once turned, it's harder to keep from turning it again). Reduced ankle flexibility or weakness will affect your squats for sure, as well as your gait etc, so will affect hips and knees too.

    Good luck--it's not a one-way street to creaky. The internet is a great resource when used judiciously.
     
  7. ukbrah

    ukbrah New Member

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    I go to a physio about my general inflexibility. They gave me a key bit of advice: stretch often. When I had a session of stretching, let’s say in the evening before bed, I could see my range of motion increase nicely, but when I check my range again in the morning it is back to my initial range. There was no permanence to it. The physio told me that to get more permanent change you have to stretch every 2 hours! This will stave off the “creep back”. This every 2 hours session isn’t permanent; You can try on a weekend and see your results from just two days, but with this knowledge it should help prevent stalling and getting frustrating.

    Good luck
     
  8. mayuru

    mayuru New Member

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    "We have teenagers today that move like 90 year olds." Dharma Mittra

    That may not have been the exact quote. Close.

    Use it or lose it. It doesn't matter how old you are. Muscles and joints begin to deteriorate within days from lack of use.
     
  9. 1nd1anaCroft

    1nd1anaCroft New Member

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    To answer your question, it’s likely both. I’ve seen that aging means injuring more easily, but regaining flexibility can help in both prevention and recovery.

    I was an insanely flexible kid, like grab my ankles in a standing backbend with straight legs flexible. Then in my late teens to mid 20s, I did basically nothing for my health or flexibility. I noticed in my late 20s that I was getting hurt easily, and that old injuries were coming back and bothering me again (including an old achilles tendon tear and a sciatic nerve pinch).

    In the past ~3-4 years, between ages 30 to 34, I started focusing much more on regaining flexibility and fitness. I absolutely see now that if I don’t work to keep my flexibility, I feel so much worse. And to give you some hope, you can absolutely get back your old flexibility, if not more, with consistent practice! I’m more flexible in my legs and hips now than when I was a teen.

    I’m not sure exactly what your goals are, but mine have been to get to contortion level flexibility again, which I have started getting to. I take a contortion flexibility class 1-2 times per week at my local aerials studio. If you look into this, make sure you find a teacher that concentrates heavily on a good warmup, and on active flexibility (using your strength to stretch further, not relying on gravity or bouncing too deep which can cause injury).

    Aside from that, I stretch almost every day after I work out (weights or HIIT), usually sun salutation sequence, pigeon pose, triangle pose, forward fold, and any other poses to tackle what may be bugging me at that time.
     
  10. DaddyB0d

    DaddyB0d New Member

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    26! OMG, pull the fork out of your butt, you're done!

    Follow This Plan. Seriously.

    1) Decide on a goal. I'd suggest you take a "process orientation" as opposed to a "result orientation".

    2) Commit to 30 minutes, 3X a week for the first few weeks, then increase to 45 minutes or add an extra day.

    3) Go to YouTube. Search for "30 minute stretching routine", "beginners flexibility routine".... you get the idea. Follow along.

    4) Pick a new routine & new instructor every session so you get a variety of perspectives and avoid boredom.

    5)STICK WITH IT.


    Seriously. You have free, unlimited access to the best, most knowledgeable experts in the field. Set aside some time, get on the floor, and do it. And keep doing it.
     

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