How to Get a Younger Body
Age-Erasing Rx: Gently stretch all your major muscle groups at least twice a week (but ideally every day).The Payoff
Fewer aches and pains.
Stretching helps maintain the full range of motion at your joints -- something that diminishes as you get older and your tendons and ligaments become less pliable. (It may also help you avoid injury and muscle soreness; however, the evidence is mixed.) Fortunately, you don't have to develop Gumby-like flexibility to keep your range of motion intact. "People who are very flexible are actually more prone to injury because their joints are so loose and unstable," says Raugh. To stay safe, stretch after a workout when your muscles are warm and never push yourself to the point of discomfort.
Stretching your muscles may also relax your arteries, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Researchers found that the most flexible women over age 40 had less arterial stiffness (a risk factor for heart disease) than less-limber women.