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8 Stretch Exercises for Seniors

Aging puts a lot of limitations on the body. There's nothing that aging does not affect, from daily activities to sleep and bodily functions. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and live an active lifestyle. What if you could get the movement back in your body? The secret? Simple stretching exercises!

Importance of Stretching Exercises for Seniors

The older you get, the harder it becomes to move around like you used to. Muscles become stiff, joints start to ache, and every visit to the hospital unearths new health conditions that you must adjust to.

It might even feel like things will just keep getting worse.

Sadly, they will, if you don’t start actively caring for your body.

No more of that resting and lying in bed all the time—why keep lying in bed when getting out is the solution to all your problems?

If you don’t think stretching exercises are important, you will after reading about their many benefits, especially on older bodies.

Fun fact: just ten minutes of stretching exercise two days a week can lead to a host of health benefits. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Helps reduce pain and soreness
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Reduces tension and relaxes muscles and joints
  • Improves muscle flexibility and mobility

Stretching can have a dual effect where the ability to improve your activity levels also boosts your mood and overall well-being. And, of course, you will develop better stamina and overall confidence.

Stretching Exercises for Seniors: A Step-By-Step Guide

Regular stretching is as easy as it gets. In this guide, we’ve listed some of the easiest and most effective stretches for seniors. This list has everything you need, from simple arm stretches to improve your dexterity to lower back stretches for better posture. All you have to do now is to integrate these simple stretching exercises to your daily routine.

1. Neck Stretch

  1. Bring your chin toward your chest.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the left and hold it for 10 to 30 seconds.
  3. Relish the stretch in your neck muscles.
  4. Repeat the same on the right side.
  5. Repeat the stretch at least twice more on each side.

2. Shoulder and Upper Arm Stretch

  1. Get a towel and hold it in one hand over your head.
  2. Allow it to drape behind your head and back.
  3. Use your other hand to grab the falling end of the towel.
  4. Pull the towel with the hand near your head until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and upper arms.
  5. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.

3. Tricep Stretch

  1. Stand or sit in a relaxed position and keep your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Raise your hands above your head.
  3. Bend your left hand behind your head.
  4. Push your left elbow towards your back using your right hand until you feel a stretch.
  5. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

4. Ankle Stretch

  1. Sit in a chair and plant your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. Lift your foot to a comfortable height and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  3. Move your foot up and down and side to side to feel the stretch in your ankle.
  4. Repeat on the other ankle.

5. Chest Stretch

  1. Extend both arms to the side with the palms facing forward.
  2. Keep stretching your arms and reaching back until you feel a stretch in your chest.
  3. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Do this up against a wall for support if you can’t hold your arms up for very long.

6. Quadriceps Stretch

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or laying on your side.
  2. Bend your knee to bring your foot behind you and grab your ankle.
  3. Keep bending your leg until you feel a stretch in the front of your thighs.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
  5. You can use a belt, band, or towel to hold your leg in place.

7. Hip Stretch

  1. Lay down flat on your back.
  2. Bring your left knee out and to the side of your body.
  3. Rest your foot against your opposite leg and push down on the bent knee until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds, repeat at least twice more each side.

8. Lower Back Stretch

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat against the floor.
  3. Keep your knees together and twist your legs down to the left side of your torso.
  4. Push down as far as you can.
  5. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat the same for the right side These are some basic (static) stretches to get you started.

Once you can perform these comfortably, you can move on to more advanced (dynamic) stretches for other parts of the body.

What Is the Best Time To Do Stretching Exercises?

Stretching exercises can be done before, after, or during your main workout routine. The best time to stretch for each individual depends on their overall activity levels.

For those who engage in frequent workouts, a stretching session can be left as the last part of their overall routine. As the muscles are warm and loose, stretching helps relax them further.

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, then performing stretching exercises after an initial warmup is a must.

The stretching itself can be done any time of the day!

Tips to Remember When Stretching

Before you take up any stretching exercise or workout routines, make sure to consult with a healthcare expert.

A stretching exercise should always be preceded by a warm-up, such as a light walk.

  • Keep breathing normally when performing the stretches.
  • Do not hold your breath. Don’t hold a stretch for longer than what your body can handle.
  • Prevent bouncing your legs or body to force a stretch as it may lead to injuries.
  • Stop doing an exercise if you feel pain on any part of the body.
  • Remember to keep your spine straight.

Stretching has many benefits for aging bodies, it is easy on the body, and you don’t need to go anywhere else. Unlike most other forms of exercises, stretching can be done at-home without any equipment or complicated movements.

If you want to put the spring back into your every step, stretching is a fantastic way to get there. Go ahead and claim your right to a healthy life!

References

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/senior-health/stretching-exercises
  • https://ioraprimarycare.com/blog/stretching-exercises-for-seniors/
  • https://www.asccare.com/the-benefits-of-stretching-exercises-for-seniors/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-flexibility-exercises-seniors-12-important-reasons-kapoor
  • https://yurielkaim.com/stretching-exercises-seniors/

3 comments

  • Wish I saw these exercises sooner. Tried these found some easier some difficult, will work on them.

    Alice Halperin
  • Valuable for seniors!! Wish I would have found sooner!!

    Diana Molzahn
  • Thank you!

    Diane Erving

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