Seniors need flexibility in old age as it provides them with freedom of movements and enable them to do the things they need to do and the things they like to do. Flexibility exercises make older adults agile and improve their ability to balance. So they enable the seniors to live independently, but they do not improve their endurance or strength.
Why You Need Flexibility Exercises?
Mainly the objective of including flexibility exercises in a senior fitness program is twofold.
(i) To retain or increase their range of motion. Not only the inactive people gradually lose their strength and endurance as they age, they physically become less supple as well.
(ii) The second objective is to relax your mind and body after training. You should always stretch and relax after workout. When you workout vigorously, your muscles undergo lots of physical stress and your heart rate gets elevated as well. It’s not right to stop suddenly. So, it’s recommended that you invest just 5-10 minutes to relax your mind and body.
It’s very important for seniors to improve flexibility in their body. To achieve this objective, one should incorporate stretching as an integral part of any fitness regime.
Stretching lessens the strain on the muscles during day-to-day physical activities and enhances flexibility of the body. It eases pain in the joints as well as in the back and heals any injuries in the tendon.
People generally experience pain in their lower back because of tightness of muscles in the quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings and low back muscles. If you stretch these muscles, they become more flexible and can help you get rid of the pain.
Senior should do stretching exercises at least a few minutes every day. You need to do stretching regularly so as to enhance the range of motion and improve flexibility of the body. You will get better results if the routine is consistent rather than straining your muscles for a longer time once a week.
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Stretching Tips And Guidelines
(i) Don’t do stretching exercises on cold muscles, or you may suffer injuries. Thus it’s important to remember to warm up your body before starting stretching exercises.
We suggest that you warm up before workout by performing dynamic movements akin to the workout exercises that are to follow. A combination of light calisthenics is generally a good choice. Perform them back-to-back for a few minutes to get your heart rate up a bit.
Note: If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, warm up before and stretch after.
(ii) A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal, which means stretch only up to the edge of a little discomfort. If you feel sharp stretch or stabbing pain then you need to back off just a little bit and hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds, allowing your body to relax. If you force your muscle to stretch beyond what is possible, the muscle fibers might be damaged and may tear. This would cause great amount of pain.
Note: Never try to stretch your muscles beyond 45-60 seconds. After that, it is crucial to relax the part that you stretched. Alternate stretching and relaxation, assigning equal times for both. You would achieve better and faster results.
(iii) Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Make sure to avoid performing stretching that involves rapid and sometimes jerky or bouncy movements as it can cause injury.
(iv) If you cannot follow the routine on a daily bases then to start with perform stretching exercises at least 3 days a week in the beginning.
(v) If on someday you are not able to stretch well, do not force your body to do so. It is likely that such physical strain may not be suitable for your body during such days.
(vi) If you experience pain in joints after stretching, you need to take more care to improve the fitness of your joints.
(vii) Set realistic goals. Otherwise, you are likely to damage to your body.
(viii) Try Pilates and Yoga. They are other good additions to stretching routines. These exercises help you relax your body in addition to strengthening and improving flexibility of your body muscles.
(ix) Keep in mind to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
(x) Avoid “locking your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.
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