Is stiffness in the human body due to aging? Or does lack of movement cause the aches and pains about which so many of us say, “I’m just gettin’ old”?
In Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve, and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise, Krucoff & Krucoff make a strong, research-supported case that a sedentary lifestyle poses major threats for older adults.
Carol Krucoff, E-RYT, co-taught my professional teacher training in Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors, which I completed at Duke Integrative Medicine in November 2013. Carol’s husband Mitchell Krucoff, M.D., professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke University Medical Center, was one of our lecturers. More about this training in subsequent blog posts.
There are aspects of aging we can’t control, such as the genetic hand we were dealt. But movement is something that every one of us who is still alive and breathing can use to positively affect our bodies and quality of life. Even someone lying in bed can do breathing exercises that move the organs and muscles of breathing relative to each other and their surrounding structures, increasing suppleness and range of motion and stimulating the autonomic nervous system (the area in charge of rest and relaxation).
Getting massage and other forms of bodywork increases circulation and stimulates the immune system and nervous system. That halo of well-being we feel surrounding us after a treatment is a constellation of physical sensations that mean our bodies are changing in response to healing inputs.
What else can we do now to keep ourselves as mobile and independent as possible as we age? Stay tuned.