As we get older, our muscles begin to get stiff and tightened gradually. As a consequence flexibility also starts decreasing. Since this natural process happens gradually throughout our life, we may not even notice it. Then, one day we go to reach something or get up off the floor and … ouch!
It’s at this stage many elderly people turn to prescriptions, aiding medical equipment, or even in-home assistants to help them carry out everyday activities.
If you are one who does not stretch every day, it’s time to change your lifestyle. It’s never too late to get your stretch on.
Stretching will open up the body’s muscles and improve blood flow.
According to fitness trainer Joel Harper: When you stretch, you elongate your muscles surrounding the joints that helps to increase the range of motion. This will help you gain more independence, mobility, flexibility and help you avoid falls and other injuries during your old age. Thus as you age, stretching can be your new best friend.
How Often You Do Stretching?
Doing it daily is recommended. You may also do it during the day whenever you feel your muscles are tight or you feel your body is off.
Best Stretching Exercises For Seniors To Do Everyday
What are the best stretches for seniors? Here we have selected 8 stretches that don’t need any equipment, but are easy and effective as well.
Benefits: Targets your arms, chest, and shoulders
Starting Position: Stand straight keeping your feet comfortably apart. Position your hands behind your tailbone; interlace them keeping your knuckles facing down.
Movement: While looking straight ahead, slowly move your arms up and as far as you can away from your tailbone. Move up to a stage where you feel a good stretch, and take 5 deep breaths into your chest.
Benefits: Targets your neck and shoulders
Staring Position: Position your arms in front of you with your elbows and the sides of your pinkies touching and your palms facing you.
Movement: Place your palms on top of your head and using weight of your arms, slowly drop your chin up to a point where you feel a good stretch in your neck and shoulders. While concentrating on your upper back Inhale five deep breaths and release your tension.
Benefits: Balances your hips while stretching your legs’ hamstrings and lower back
Starting Position: Put your feet together and position them flat on the ground
Movement: Gently bend forward at your waist and walk your hands down your legs, as low as comfortably you can. Now bend your one knee while keeping the other leg straight and allow your head dangle down, releasing all your tension. Perform similar movement using your alternate knee and leg. Make sure that your feet remain flat on the ground all through the movement. Stretch each side for 15 seconds. If you feel your one side stay there longer so as to bring muscle balance to both sides.
Benefits: Stretches and loosens your hips and increases mobility
Starting Position: Stand with your feet together flat on the ground and hands on your waist.
Movement: Imagine a string from the top of your head extending through your spine, concentrate on moving your hips in as wide a circle as possible. Make sure not to move your shoulders all through the exercise and keep your belly pulled in. Circle your hips 5 times clockwise and then five times counter-clockwise.
Benefits: Targets your arms
Starting Position: Stand with your feet flat on the ground hip-width apart
Movement: Raise your right arm towards ceiling keeping your shoulder down away from your ears. Bend your right elbow and place your right hand toward the middle of your back with the palm facing your back. Raise your left hand and then place your fingers on your right arm, just below the elbow. Hold the stretch position for about 20-30 seconds. Now perform the movement using alternate arms. Repeat this stretch exercise 3-4 times, aiming to stretch a little deeper each time.
Benefits: Aligns your spine and improves your posture
Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes a little angled out. Interlace your hands and bring them to chest level, about 6 inches in front of your chest, with palms facing away from your body, and your elbows extended to their respective sides.
Movement: Twist your upper body slowly from side to side, as much as you can, leading with your elbows while maintaining your head in line with your torso. Make sure to keep your lower body stationery all through the movement. Repeat the movement about 15-20 times.
Benefits: Target your back
Starting Position: Stand with a table or other flat surface about 4 feet in front of you, with your feet hip-width and arms by your side. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow the low back to arch. Keep your chest lifted and your chin tilted up slightly.
Movement: With a slight bend in your knees and while shifting your weight forward, slowly begin bending forward at the hips until you can place your hands on the table. Your arms should be extended with a straight line from wrist to elbow to shoulder, abdominals braced and your back flat.
With your hands on the table, keep your legs directly under your hips. Lean back into your hips, straighten the legs and draw your torso toward the ground, maintaining a flat back. Keep the chin tucked into your neck to stabilize your cervical spine and to keep your head from dropping towards the floor.
Hold the stretch position for 15-30 seconds, and then go back to the starting position (legs bent, hands on table). Repeat for a total of 8 to 10 reps.
Benefits: Targets your thighs; flexibility gets improved
Starting Position: Stand tall with your feet together and arms along your sides
Movement: Place your right hand on a wall or table for support. Then balance on your right leg and bend your left knee back, bringing up your left foot until you grasp its ankle with your left hand. All through the movement stand erect and maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone. All the while maintain your chest lifted and take five deep breaths. Then repeat with the other side.
Caution: If you feel pain, do not hold a static stretch. This is an indication that you are stretching too far and should back off. Stretch up to the point where you don’t feel pain and then gradually increase the range over time.