Do you feel stiffness in the morning when you wake up? You may even feel it throughout the day which makes it difficult to get everyday things done.
Even though you may not be in a lot of pain, stiffness can still cause a lot of problems for someone who wants to stay active and healthy.
This is a common complaint here at Functional Advantage and we have plenty of tips and advice to help reduce stiffness.
But first it's important to understand...
Why We Feel Stiff:
A lot of people we see think that stiffness is something we feel as we get older – and while there’s some truth in that, stiffness isn’t always directly related to how old you are.
Yes, as you get older your joints and muscles might get stiff if you don’t exercise regularly. And it’s true that your joints become less flexible as the lubricating fluid inside them decreases, and the cartilage becomes thinner as you age… But there’s some other points to factor in too.
Not drinking enough fluids and dehydration can also lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissue that requires the most water in the body.
Inactivity is another culprit – leaving your muscles in one place for a prolonged period (sleep, sitting in a chair, driving for hours etc.) can cause them to stiffen.
Another cause can be related to stress – when we are stressed, our bodies tighten up as preparation for whatever situation may be causing us stress. Prolonged stress can lead to you maintaining a tight posture, resulting in strain on the muscles.
Here’s five quick and easy tips to add to your daily routine that will help you live with less stiffness no matter what age you are:
1. Stretch – Stretch for ten minutes when you first wake up, and ten minutes at night before bed. Doing gentle stretches just before bed can help you get a much better nights sleep as well. No equipment needed!
2. Walk – Go for a ten minute walk everyday (or twenty if you can). Next time you need to make a long phone call, why not walk at the same time?
3. Avoid long periods of sitting – You’re better off laying stretched out on the sofa than you are sitting in a chair for long periods of time. We’re NOT designed to sit, and stretching out can be a nice relief for muscles and joints, especially if you’ve had a long day at work sitting in a chair.
4. Take a warm bath – Add epsom salt or baking soda too! The heat and combination of epsom salt or baking soda will ease your muscles almost immediately and will calm your mind. The perfect way to end your day and unwind before getting a good nights sleep.
5. Drink plenty of water -Seventy percent of your muscles are water. So it makes sense that you need to drink plenty of water to support your body and keep it hydrated. My tip – have a glass of water by your bed ready for when you wake up in the morning, that way the first thing you do is drink a glass as soon as you wake to kick-start your day.
It’s sad but a lot of people accept stiffness in their life, as though it’s normal and nothing can be done about it. Stiffness in your joints such as your neck, shoulders, back and knees is a sign that something needs to be done by you.
Don’t accept stiffness as part of life and getting older, if you do and you don’t do anything about it, it’s likely to worsen and affect your ability to move freely.
The most common areas of stiffness we see are back and neck stiffness. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back or neck which restricts your ability to move, click here to request a copy of our free back pain guide or click here to request a copy of our neck pain guide. Both include additional tips to relieve pain and stiffness.