Stiffness As You Age
By Western Berks on January 13th, 2016
When you climb out of bed each morning, you may wonder why your muscles are so stiff. After all, you just slept a full eight hours! Why don’t you feel rested and limber? There are several reasons why you may feel stiffness as you age each morning.
As we get older, there is an underlying physical tendency to lose lean body mass. Unfortunately we are adding fat as we lose muscle and thus become vulnerable to aches and pains. Furthermore, as we age our sleep patterns change, leading to frequent awakenings, poor quality sleep, and more tossing and turning in bed, amplifying those aches and pains even more.
But despite this predisposition toward stiffness, you can lessen its impact.
- Make sure you have a good mattress. It’s common for people to forget the importance of a good mattress. An older mattress that sags can be responsible for more aches and pains than you might think. Try the different types of supporting mattress surfaces to find what works best for you.
- Exercise the smart way. Older individuals can fight back against the loss of lean muscle mass by staying active. Brisk walking on unpaved natural surfaces is highly recommended, not only to keep you in shape but to minimize impact-related muscle and joint problems.
- Warm up. Stretching is not just a good way to combat muscle soreness from exercising; it can also alleviate stiffness in the morning.
- Use heat for relief. A warm shower or heating pad can do wonders for loosening your muscles for the day ahead.
But beware—more bed rest is not the answer. By remaining in that one position in bed, muscles tend to shorten. No matter how you plan on alleviating that stiffness and keeping your limbs loose and limber, getting out of bed is always the first step.
If the above remedies don’t seem to help or the stiffness is persistent or painful, Western Berks Physical Therapy can evaluate your situation for the best course of action.