Can you touch your toes? Take this simple test of flexibility: stand with your feet shoulders apart. Keep your knees straight and bend till you touch your toes. Do it slowly, do not jerk, force or stop breathing with agony. If you can’t you can’t, at least for today. Why?
Flexibility is a hallmark of youthfulness. Unless you have an injury there is no reason you should not be able to touch your toes even if you are in your seventies. It’s no joke. Flexibility is a hallmark of youthfulness and nobody deserves old-age stiffness. It is absolutely possible to keep youthful posture and bounce till ripe old age, but only if you pay attention to it.
Not being able to touch your toes, despite a popular belief, has NOT much to do with the back (unless you have severe back condition), but more with hamstrings. Hamstrings are large muscles located at the back of your thighs. If you can’t touch your toes, very likely your hamstrings are tight.
Tight hamstrings do not happen overnight. Tight hamstrings are often linked to sedentary lifestyle. They are common in people with a desk jobs who avoid gyms. Sitting shortens the hamstrings and unless you work them, stretch them, and use them in their full capacity they will end up with slowly creeping up stiffness. Think about it. First hamstrings, then neck, then back, then shoulders… and by the time you know it you are as stiff as a board, moving and feeling older than you actually are. Do not let it happen!
Easy flexibility tests you can do now
- Take a series of flexibility test (see photos). Can you do all of them?
- If you can’t:
- are you fit but injured, or
- do you feel unfit?
If you are inflexible due to an injury make sure you fix it or you will end up with even more stiffness later. There are many ways to repair your muscles: stretching, strengthening, hydrotherapy, manual therapy, homeopathy, magnetotherapy, etc. Regardless of your choices make sure to keep your flexibility. This is one way of staying young. If you feel unfit, start moving about. From yoga to running, there is so much awaiting for you.