No one wants to be sidelined by pain or injury, which is why you might wonder if something is up when you notice that you don’t have as much flexibility as the instructor in your Pilates class, or when your muscles feel especially stiff after a workout.

However, muscle stiffness — or being unable to bend like gumby — isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong. It’s beneficial to understand what defines normal flexibility, why you might feel muscle stiffness, and when what you’re experiencing could be a sign of an injury for which you should seek medical advice. Remember that teacher might have been a dance or gymnast. They might work on flexibility regularly as more than one time a day.

As we age we become less and less flexible. Flexibility improves circulation, muscle health, and endurance, can help prevent injury, and perhaps even ward off arthritis and osteoporosis. Becoming more flexible involves daily routines and exercises designed to stretch the muscles and joints.

Tips to help:

  1. Warm up then stretch
  2. Never leave class during the stretching
  3. Take time to stretch everyday target your hamstrings, quads, shoulders, back and neck. Be gentile on your body and do not force anything.
  4. Try a rolling class