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Daily Habits to Help Reduce Stiffness

Image of a man swinging a golf club with a red graphic overlay displaying stiffness while golfing.

Doylestown Sports Medicine Center would like to answer a common question we get asked about being stiff:

Do you have any advice for someone like me who isn’t in a lot of pain? I’m just incredibly stiff when I wake up on a morning, and I feel it throughout the day which means I can’t do things as easily as I used to. Any advice?

​Doylestown Sports Medicine Center has plenty of tips and advice to help reduce stiffness.

But first we want to clear up ‘why’ we feel stiff in the first place.


A lot of people we see think that stiffness is something we feel as we get older – and while there’s some truth in that, stiffness isn’t always directly related to how old you are.


​Yes, as you get older your joints and muscles might get stiff if you don’t exercise regularly. And it’s true that your joints become less flexible as the lubricating fluid inside them decreases, and the cartilage becomes thinner as you age… But there’s some other points to factor in too.


Common Causes of Stiffness


What You Drink

​Not drinking enough fluids and dehydration can also lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissue that requires the most water in the body.


Not Staying Active

​Inactivity is another culprit – leaving your muscles in one place for a prolonged period (sleeping, sitting in a chair, driving for hours etc.) can cause them to stiffen.


Stress

Another cause can be related to stress – when we’re in a state of stress, our bodies tighten up as preparation for a “fight or flight” situation. Prolonged stress can lead to you maintaining a tight posture, resulting in strain on the muscles.

So what can you do to reduce the side-effects of stiffness? Here’s five quick and easy tips to add to your daily routine that will help you find a life with less stiffness no matter what age you are.


Habits to Reduce Stiffness


Stretch Daily

Image of 3 women in front of a mirror doing synchronized stretches.

Ten minutes on a morning when you first wake up, and ten minutes on a night before bed. Doing gentle stretches just before bed can help you get a much better night’s sleep as well. No equipment needed, just you and the comfort of your own home (and some good music if you like).


Go for walks

Image of a person kneeling down to tie their shoes during a walk.

For at least ten minutes a day (even better, twenty if you can). Next time you need to make a long phone call, why not do it on your mobile and walk at the same time?


Tip: Try going for walks at different places, it'll help you stay commited. Check out our blog, Great Springtime Activities in Bucks County for Physical Therapy Patients for some of our favorite trails and activities.


Avoid Sitting for Long Periods of Time

Display of a woman sitting in 4 different postures: Slouched Posture, Forward Head Posture, Sitting at Attention Posture and Proper Sitting Posture.

You’re better off laying stretched out on the sofa than you are sitting in a chair for long periods of time. We’re NOT designed to sit and stretching out can be a nice relief for muscles and joints, especially if you’ve had a long day at work sat in a chair.


Take a Warm Bath

Image of a warm bathtub and a small counter with epsom salt, a brush and a bar of soap.

With Epsom salt or baking soda. The heat and combination of Epsom salt or baking soda will ease your muscles almost immediately and will calm your mind. The perfect way to end your day and unwind before getting a good night’s sleep.


Hydrate

Birds-eye view of a person setting a glass of water down next to a sticky note that says, "Drink more water."

Seventy percent of your muscles are water. So it makes sense that you need to drink plenty of water to support your body and keep it hydrated. My tip – have a glass of water by your bed ready for when you wake up on a morning, that way the first thing you do is drink a glass as soon as you wake to kick-start your day.


When to See a Physical Therapist about Your Stiffness

Image of a DSMC physical therapist using a goniometer to measure the range of motion of a person's left heel.

It’s sad but a lot of people accept stiffness in their life as though it’s normal and nothing can be done about it.


Stiffness in your joints such as your neck, shoulders, back and knees is a sign that something needs to be done by you.


So, there you have it, five things you can very easily put into action in your day as soon as today, to reduce stiffness and prevent it from making daily activities difficult to do.


Don’t accept stiffness as part of life, if you do and you don’t do anything about it, it’s likely to worsen and affect your ability to move freely.


Try Our Free Back Pain Tips for Stiffness:

Image of Doylestown Sports Medicine Center's free Back Pain Report.

If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download DSMC’s free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips we give to our patients at the Doylestown Sports Medicine Center.


Click the button below to claim your free copy today.


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