We often regard stretching our muscles just before exercise and sometimes after as an addition to the routine to warm up our muscles.
However, we only sometimes realize that stretching all on its own provides flexibility, which is just as important as cardio fitness and strength.
Especially for seniors, stretching is vital to keep flexible and help improve your balance, which will prevent falls.
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How Age Affects Your Flexibility
Aging affects your entire body, from your skin to muscles and flexibility.
When you have flexibility, your muscles, joints, and tendons tend to change, affecting your mobility, strength, and balance.
Your ligaments and connective tissues between your bones become much less elastic as you age, greatly affecting mobility.
The less you stretch and use your joints, the less flexible they will become.
Thus, no matter how much you walk, run, jog, or exercise, you may still have mobility issues if you do not stretch.
Here are a few tips to follow to improve your flexibility;
- Dedicate Enough Time to Stretching. The same amount of time you dedicate to cardio and other training, or strength training, should be dedicated to stretching to improve your flexibility.
- Stretching as a Group Activity – You can enjoy stretching, such as Yoga, Pilates, and resistance band training, in more social and interactive classes.
- Period of Stretching – Did you know that there are stretching exercises that will gradually make you more flexible, as well as stretches that can offer instant pain or stiffness relief?
- Start Slow and Grow Your Flexibility – Start stretching routines slowly and gradually increase the intensity to improve flexibility.
Stretching Exercises for Seniors
In the videos are some stretching exercise routines for seniors. I have also included a few descriptions of stretching exercises for seniors.
Standing Quadricep Stretch
The Stretch concentrates on your upper legs and quadric. Could you do some light walking before attempting this exercise? You will hold on to the back of a chair or sturdy couch. Hold on to the chair with your left hand and bend your right knee. Using the right hand now, grab your leg by the ankle and pull it behind you towards your bottom. You can hold for a few seconds and repeat the process on the other side. Make sure that the chair you are using is very sturdy.
Seated Knee to Chest
The exercise here helps improve mobility in your knee and hip joints. It would be best if you sat on a chair, up straight. Now grab your right knee and pull it as far as you can against or towards your chest; once you feel a stretch, hold for 30 seconds and let go. Could you repeat with the other leg?
Hamstring stretches will target your back and your lower legs. You will need a comfortable surface to sit on. Sit down your legs toward your body. Now you can stretch out one leg straight and lean down. Try to touch your knee or ankle. Hold for a few seconds, and repeat on the other side.
The Soleus stretch is ideal for your legs and calf muscles especially. For the stretch, you need a wall. Could you stand straight and face the wall? Could you place both hands straight out to touch or palms flat on the wall? Put the right foot in front of the left and slowly bend until you feel a stretch in your calf. Could you stand up and swap positions?
The Overhead Stretch will loosen up your back, hips, shoulder, and abdomen. You can stand or sit for this stretch. Stand or sit up straight, and lift one arm beside your head. Now bow and lean to the opposite side, pulling the hand to the side. Hold and repeat.
The Shoulder stretches to alleviate pain and stiffness in this area and give more mobility to the joints. You can stand or sit for this exercise in an upright position. Grab one of your arms with the opposite hand and pull it straight across your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Now hold for a few seconds, and repeat on the other side.
The Triceps Stretch improves mobility in your arms and your shoulders. You can stand r sit for this exercise. You will lift both your arms behind your head and bend your right arm positioned behind your head. Lace your left hand on the right elbow and pull the elbow down gently towards your back until your feel a stretch in the upper arm. Hold the position, and repeat on the other side.
Lunge In Chair
The Lunge in Chair is a hip-strengthening stretch for more advanced seniors. You will grab hold of two sturdy chairs and place them three feet apart, facing the same direction. Stand a few feet in front of the chair behind you and place your shin on the seat f that chair. Make sure that the knee reaches past the front edge of the chair with your feet hanging over the back. Bend the front knee slightly and push your hips forward and down. Hold for ten seconds and repeat.
Standing Hip Flexor
The Hip Flexor Stretch helps to alleviate pain and stiffness in your hips. For this exercise, you will need a very sturdy chair to hold on to. You will hold the chair and stand in front, facing the back of the chair, with your feet apart. It would be best if you stood far enough to lift your leg. Then holding on to the chair with both hands, you will keep one leg straight and lift the opposing leg towards your chest, bending your knee close to your chest. Hold for tens of seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Could you stay well hydrated during stretching or any other exercise routine?
You will also benefit from your health by following a healthy diet.