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5 Quick Fixes You Can Do Daily To Help Ease Stiffness


Not sure about you but as I am getting older my body certainly feels different to what it did in my teens, 20s and even 30s. I used to spring out of bed in the morning with not a care in the world and my body would work as I expected it to, no aches, no pains and no creaking!


Now I am in my 40s and I am feeling the need to do a daily warm up routine for my body to move as I need it to. When I was younger I used to look at my boxer dogs waking from their sleep and think, why do they stretch before they climb out of their basket? But you know what animals have got this movement stuff sussed! Much more than us humans do!


So, from watching my dogs for all those years I now have a stretch before I get out of bed in the morning and you know what…… hey presto my body is grumbling at me less than if I don’t stretch. Muscles and joints do get stiffer with age as we have less lubricating fluid inside our joints and the cartilage wears away with use.


My dogs all stretched from Bonnie the mum to Judy the youngest of the offspring making me realise that age is part of why we feel stiff but it isn’t the only reason.


So, what else I hear you say can cause stiffness?


Dehydration – not drinking enough fluids in our day can lead to stiff muscles. Think of beef jerky….. if we don’t have enough fluid in our muscles guess what…. They start to look like dried out meat! And you know if you over cook meat in the oven it breaks apart…same for us as living humans, we don’t drink enough we set ourselves up for muscle problems. The muscles aren’t as flexible as they should be due to being dried out then they can’t move the joints full their full range of movement and this leads to pain and stiffness.


Not moving – being in the same position for a long time means the muscles will be static no blood or oxygen pumping around them and the fibres stay the same length (either lengthened or shortened). If the muscles are not moving then neither are your joints so the joint surfaces will not be lubricated with the fluid inside of them. Just like a car engine our bodies need lubrication to move well.

Everyone thinks sitting is the new smoking and in a way, it is bad for us if we sit for too long but equally ever noticed if you lay down for long periods you still struggle with stiffness. It doesn’t matter what position you are in whether it be standing, sitting or lying it’s the length of time you are in a position that is the problem. Stay for too long and your body will not thank you for it.

They always say our next position is always our best one! Good tip to remember!


Stress! – When we are stressed or anxious our body is in a state of raised awareness! What this means is the body is on high alert ready to face what is perceives as danger. It is an automatic built-in response we have as humans to enhance our body’s ability to react and respond to what is sees as danger. You may have heard it called the “fight or flight response.” This is brought about via hormones in our bloodstream being released so the body can deal with the threat.

These hormones (adrenaline, cortisol are the well known ones) have many effects on our bodies but the ones that effect the feeling of stiffness are they change blood flow and tighten muscles. These changes will remain as long as the stress hormones are active so if you are struggling with stress on a daily basis it’s no wonder you feel stiff.


So, what can you do about easing stiffness?


Below are 5 quick and simple things you can do daily to help get a life with less stiffness no matter what age you are.


1. Stretch


Gentle stretching is a great way to help muscles release tension. Stretch too hard and those muscles with spring straight back to their tight state so go easy with that stretching.


2. Light to moderate exercise


Exercise is a well known stress and muscle tension reducer. If your body is already stressed don’t be tempted to go and do a spin or body attack class at the gym as vigorous exercise can in fact aggravate symptoms rather than relieve them.

Try a gentle or brisk walk for 10-20 minutes. Nothing beats getting outside in the fresh air to blow the cobwebs away and/or get to a Pilates or Yoga class to get your body oiled and moving well.


3. Avoid being in one posture for too long


Human bodies are like cars. They need to move! Stay in one place for too long and things start to cease up.


4. Drink plenty


Feeling dry? Have a headache? It’s likely your body is crying out for a drink as you are most likely already dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water so we need to replenish our fluids little and often.

The recommended amount to drink a day is 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses). Obviously, some people may need more other less it depends on your size but this is a good starting point.


5. Learn to relax


Have a warm bath to help ease those stiff body parts. Muscle like to be warm to move well. Bath time at night is a chance to grab some “me” time meaning you can get those stress hormone levels down and feel relaxed ready for a good night sleep.

A relaxing massage is another great way to ease muscle stiffness. It’s time you can lay and od nothing and let someone else ease that muscle tension. I love nothing more than a massage to make me feel de-stressed and ready to face the world again.

You will see Pilates/Yoga classes mentioned again here. Both are a fantastic way to de-stress as both focus on the mind-body connection. I always feel refreshed and renewed after a Pilates class as it’s an hour to focus on me and my body and how it moves which means I switch off from all the work and family things I need to remember and get done…..Pilates for me = heaven!


So, there you have it 5 simple ways to help reduce stiffness in muscles and joints starting today!


Please don’t think you have to accept stiffness in your life as if it is normal and nothing can be done to help ease it. If you do nothing you are likely to be heading towards a life where you are unable to move freely and be limited in being able to get out and find enjoyment of living life. Just remember we get one chance on this earth so let’s grab it with both hands, get moving and smile! 🙂


If you are struggling with stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain and you are fearful of moving then click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes many tips for easing back pain and stiffness and help you keep active. Click the link below to get your free copy:  http://www.wdcphysio.wpenginepowered.com/physiotherapy/back-pain/


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About Wendy McCloud

Wendy is the founder of The South East’s Leading Specialist Private Physiotherapy Practice for People in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, who want to keep healthy and active.

Wendy’s background includes working as an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist working as part of Mr. Ali Al-Sabti’s Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain.

Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeons. More recently Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr. Matthew Sala.

Wendy worked in National Level Rugby Union for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand. Wendy resigned from her position as Head Physiotherapist at Southend RFC in June 2011 to open WDC which has become the fastest growing clinic in the South East of England.

WDC is now a large multi-therapist speciality practice in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

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Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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