Flexibility, as with any aspect of fitness, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And, as we age we tend to challenge our full range of motion less and less which allows our muscles, tendons, and fascia to tighten. Our decrease in going through full ranges of motion may stem from injuries, arthritis, or simply becoming more sedentary.
If an injury has got you moving less, get it checked out by your doctor. Do what you need to get it fixed or let it heal, then gradually stretch the area to regain any lost mobility.
Arthritis, and the pain associated with it, can definitely cause us to move less and through smaller ranges of motion. The guidelines, however, whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, are to exercise through as full a range of motion as is tolerable. This includes working through pain. Contrary to what many people believe, a well-designed and performed exercise program will not make the arthritis worse. The result is actually less pain overall and greater strength, stability, flexibility and function of the joint.
Loss of mobility from being sedentary is common because many people are less active as they get older. It’s lost over time and it will take time to regain it, but you can regain it with work.
So, when it comes to aging and loss of flexibility, know that with some stretching and strengthening, you can improve what you have lost and possibly regain it all.