Flexibility in Older Adults
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. As we age, we may find it more difficult to be as flexible and mobile as we once were. Consequently, this is due to a variety of reasons: natural wear and tear on the body over time. Also, changes in our hormone levels, and joint health among other things. But with older adults, stretching can help improve flexibility and mobility. And by lengthening muscles that have shortened from lack of use or aging.
Stretching Prevents Injuries
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults, Flexibility stretches for older adults may aid in the prevention of injuries, especially in the legs and arms. Hence, stretching regularly several times a week can significantly improve your flexibility. So then, we gradually lose our flexibility as we age due to prolonged periods of sitting or even standing. It is not hard to imagine how many hours every day are spent in front of a TV or computer screen.
10 Reasons to Stretch
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. why stretching is beneficial for older adults!
- The first benefit of stretching, and arguably the most obvious, is that it can help improve flexibility.
- Another benefit of stretching is that older adults will discover that they feel less restrictive in their movements when doing simple tasks like walking, climbing stairs, and even taking baths.
- Older adults who stretch regularly may also notice an increase in overall energy levels – this makes sense because having proper mobility allows older adults to do more of the things they love.
- Stretching consistently can also reduce the risk of injuries and help you recover faster from accidents that do occur.
- Many older adults also notice a decrease in their chances of falling and feel that they have more control over their movements and balance.
- While stretching, most people experience a strong sensation of relaxation which can lower blood pressure.
7. The lengthening of muscle fibers during stretching also helps to reduce potential muscle cramps which are common in older adults due to dehydration.*
8. Stretching often is one of the best ways to help joints move through their full range of motion which naturally decreases as we age.
9. We all know that poor posture leads to pain, and stretching can help improve your posture through body awareness and reduced muscle tension.
10. Lastly, stretching is a great way to improve your circulation by increasing the body supply to your muscles and tissues.
In conclusion, it is important that older adults make time to stretch in order to keep their bodies healthy. (*Dehydration is a common problem with older adults, you will soon get a post on dehydration)
Always Warm Up Before Stretching
A warm-up prepares your muscles by increasing blood flow and getting your oxygen circulating to those muscles. Besides, this is important as stretching cold muscles can cause you problems and pain.
1. Shoulder Stretch
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. The shoulder stretch will not only improve your range of motion in the shoulder joint into flexion and adduction. But also improves the mobility of your elbow and wrist.
HOW TO DO IT
Shoulder Stretches. 1. Extend your hand out in front with your palm up.
2. Bend elbow and bring fingertips to shoulder.
3. With your other hand, scoop up your elbow and gently lift it toward the ceiling. Hold 30 seconds.
4. Bring the same arm across the body and pull back with your other hand while performing wrist circles. hold 20 seconds
2. Torso Rotation
The torso rotation exercises work on improving the mobility of your ribs and spine with gentle side-to-side stretches. However, make sure to include some breathing with this exercise and maintain an upright posture with excessive force when turning.
HOW TO DO IT
- Torso Rotation. Sitting in your chair, turn your torso to the right and look over your shoulder.
- bring your right arm over the back of your seat. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat for the other side.
3. Hip Rotation
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. The purpose of this exercise is to Increase the range of motion of your hips. Improve the functional use of your legs as in getting out of a car. And or stepping over the side of your bathtub.
HOW TO DO IT
- Sit comfortably in your chair.
- Cross your right ankle onto your left knee. Gently press down on your knee until a stretch is felt.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat with your left leg.
4. Hamstring Stretch
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. Here, hamstrings seem to be perpetually tight in seniors causing poor hip mobility and decreased posture. Therefore, sitting in a chair is a safe and easy way to improve hip and hamstring flexibility with this stretch.
HOW TO DO IT
- Seated Hamstring Stretch. Next, begin seated in your chair, and sit at the front edge.
- Extend one leg out fully and begin by bringing your toes toward your body.
- Place both hands on your thigh slowly lean forward from the hips and try to reach your knee, calf, or ankle.
- This stretch should feel good. Hold this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply.
- Repeat with the other leg for 30 seconds for a great lower-body stretch.
5. Quadricep Stretch
Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults. In this case, stretching our quadriceps is often overlooked by seniors. Furthermore, a seated quad stretch is not only easy but also very effective.
HOW TO DO IT Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults.
- Seated Quadricep Stretch. Begin in a chair, sitting on the front edge.
- Turn to one side and bring your front knee to the floor.
- Slowly bring your toes back to the rear as far as possible.
- Sit tall in the chair, chest raised, chin up, and breathe deeply.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then turn the opposite way and repeat with the other leg.
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Flexibility Stretches for Older Adults are extremely beneficial as we age. As a result, stretches counter muscle shrinkage from age and lack of exercise. However, long periods of inactivity are the cause of muscle and tendon shrinkage, joint stiffness, and mobility problems. So then, stretching is key to having a good quality of life. Finally, it might seem hard at first but you should persevere as the more you do, the better it gets.
Important Note *
Remember that everyone is different, it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.
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