Flexibility is the range of motion of a joint, or a set of joints, in your body or the ability to bend with ease. Balance is the ability to hold your body upright and steady without falling. Strength is the ability to move or apply a force to an object, such as lifting and carrying weight.

At a Communities in Motion event in San Diego led by orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Jeffrey M. Smith discussed the importance of flexibility and balance. To improve strength, challenge yourself with exercises that flex your body in different ways while staying balanced. Exercises like yoga, Pilates and tai chi, if performed safely, can help prevent muscle sprains and strains.

  1. Yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice of connecting the body with the mind and breath through breathing techniques and meditation. But, the practice of Hatha Yoga, the more commonly known form of yoga, includes a series of posture and breathing exercises that could help increase fitness and flexibility.
  2. Pilates is a series of exercises similar to yoga, but focuses on the body’s core muscles, midsection and torso. The exercises are usually simple, but require proper technique, form and control to help develop strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and joint mobility.
  3. Tai chi is one form martial art considered safe for people of all ages as it is a series of movements that gently shift weight in the body with different flowing movements. The movements help increase balance without putting too much stress on the bone and muscle joints. The practice, for sport or exercise, can help enhance flexibility, balance and agility.

Are you ready to get started? Tips on starting an exercise program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00416

Download a printer-friendly version of the Community In Motion workbook exercises.

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