How to stay limber for longer

An opinion poll surveyed by Arthritis Australia found that Australians were more concerned about developing joint problems than any other health conditions[1] and it's no wonder – joint pain and stiffness is a major cause of reduced motion, and can severely effect your quality of life as we get older.

The more mobile we are, the happier and healthier we are as we age[2] and staying limber protects us against injuries and falls. It's much easier to keep your balance when your muscles and joints are flexible and strong. When your body is stiff and tight, your muscles can't adjust to sudden changes of position, and an accidental trip on the stairs could turn into a serious fall.

Age naturally decreases our flexibility, joint health, and mobility but there are ways to stay as limber as possible as the years roll by –

1. Add mobility exercises to your daily routine

“Mobility exercises” is a fancy name for easy movements that take your joints through their full range of motion. This can lengthen the muscles and tendons that support the joints and, over time, allow the joint to move a little further. Exercises like rolling your shoulders, or rotating your ankles and wrists are simple mobility exercises that you can do anywhere.

Easy does it. Mobility exercises warm you up gently and gradually expand your comfort zone of movement. If you are injured or in pain, there is usually some limitation of movement in the affected or nearby joints. Find the “edge” of your range, and retreat. You don't have to push through. Unlike static stretches (i.e. stretches you hold for 10 seconds or longer), mobility exercises encourage results through repetition, not intensity.

How much repetition, exactly? It depends on the joint, but mobilisation experts often recommend 25 – 75 repetitions of each movement, performed 1 – 3 times per day. It's easier and more effective than it sounds! Mobility movements are generally considered safe but seek advice from your doctor, accredited exercise physiologist or joint specialist if you experience any abnormal discomfort while performing these types of exercises.

How to stay limber for longer 1

Try slowly turning your head to one side, and then the other, at least 25 times.

2. Supplement your diet with NEM

Joints are complex, and treating any joint condition requires a multifaceted approach that supports cartilage, synovial fluid, and collagen — this used to mean having to take a lot of different, oversized supplements throughout the day.

Enter: the egg.

Natural eggshell membrane (NEM) is the coating inside the eggshell that houses the yolk and white. This stretchy material naturally contains four key ingredients found in healthy joints — collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid — and is now available as a concentrated supplement . NEM may help to support joint mobility, relieve mild joint stiffness, and assist general joint flexibility —  and it might work fast. One study found that participants with osteoarthritis who took NEM each day experienced a significant reduction in pain and stiffness after just 10 days! [3]

3. Get swimming

Land-based exercises and weight lifting focus on one or two muscle groups at a time — other muscles may become inactive or tighten up as a result. Swimming works the entire body and the buoyancy of water supports your joints, making it easier to move with a wider range of motion. A 2015 study found that women who swam for an hour three times a week significantly improved their flexibility and range of motion within three months [4].

4. Know when to rest

As we age, our bodies require more rest time to recuperate and recover. Resting painful or sore joints and muscles can relieve pain and reduce swelling, and may speed up the healing process so that you can get back to full mobility sooner than if you'd “pushed through”. Seek personalised advice from your doctor or specialist about how to best rest your joints and muscles.

5. Stretch and breathe with yoga

The combination of mindfulness, dynamic movement and breathing exercises in yoga not only keeps the body limber, but might also help to relieve the pain associated with some joint issues. Multiple studies have found that regular yoga practice can improve mobility and reduce pain associated with knee osteoarthritis <[5] [6] — but a commitment of at least 12 weeks is probably required before the results really kick in [7]>.

Keys to Staying Limber Longer:  

  1. Regular movement that utilises your joint's full range of motion.
  2. Don't push it! Rest when you need to.
  3. Collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid naturally supports joint mobility.