Many people come up to me and ask me what I think about good old “normal” stiffness. A lot of the problems with stiffness is that people tend to think that if you’re stiff you should just rest until it goes. Wrong.
Ultimately the action that keeps you from being stiff is moving. I’m not talking about going on a daily hike or run, or stretching constantly to ease your stiffness, more along the lines of gentle exercise.
One of the best ways to ease stiffness is to go for a nice leisurely walk. Ideally, going for a walk each day would be great, but if that seems a little difficult, try to go on a 20-25 minute walk at least twice a week. A walk offers the simplest and safest way of keeping the joints moving.
If you have arthritis also, then walking (or even going for a nice swim) can help ease the pain of that too. The pain with arthritis can be multiplied if you stop or slow down. However, if you think of a slow, leisurely walk, even for short periods of time, you would still be moving your body. And as a result would still get the benefits of easing stiffness.
A useful way of adding walking into your lifestyle could be as simple as looking over what you would normally do. I mean, if the phone rings would you normally sit down and talk? Take advantage of your cell phone and walk around. Or even better, if you know you have to make a long phone call, why not go for a walk and talk? Remember every step counts toward a less stiffer you!
This kind of goes hand in hand with what I have just mentioned, but try and avoid sitting for a long period of time. If you must sit down though, then stretch full out on the couch. It’s much better for you than sitting on a chair for a long time (that’s what I tell my family!).
We’re NOT designed to sit and if you have spent a long period of time sat in a chair, then stretching out can be a nice relief for your muscles and joints. My advice would be to stretch for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed. This will help with any pains or signs of stiffness in the morning, as well as helping you get a good night’s rest.
To anyone who is reading this and is suffering from overall stiffness is to keep moving! It’s very easy to accept that everyday stiffness is something that just happens and nothing can be done about. A good way to think of it is this, your everyday stiffness that gives you neck, shoulder and back pain, means that something needs to be done by you. The day you accept your stiffness, and don’t attempt to change it, the worse it will get.