The Many Benefits of Stretching for Seniors
September 14 2022
For aging seniors, staying mobile and on the move can get harder as time passes. Doing simple things like getting up in the morning can become difficult due to declining physical capabilities. Without proper maintenance, the human body tends to lose muscular strength and become increasingly stiff and hard to move.
For these reasons, stretching can be a valuable activity for seniors that are interested in staying mobile with ease. Establishing a stretching routine can boost flexibility for seniors and make it possible for aging muscles and tendons to lengthen and react to movements throughout the day. It’s important to ensure the entire body is getting regularly stretched, especially key areas like the hips, back, legs, and neck.
How Stretching Benefits the Aging Body
The benefits of stretching regularly can make a significant positive impact in the lives of seniors. A good routine can make it possible for the aging body to have a greater range of motion and improved posture. Any tightness or muscle knots that may have formed can be relaxed and unwound to ease pain and tension in the body.
Seniors that take the time to stretch can look forward to a higher level of well-being and positive changes in their physical abilities. They might find that their balance has improved and that they can better control their bodies when doing their usual activities.
Establishing a Stretching Routine
To get started, seniors can aim to establish a stretching routine of anywhere from five to ten minutes a few times a week. They can also pair this stretching work with other forms of exercise such as walking or strength training. Stretches are also best performed with deep breathing, with seniors consciously exhaling during each stretch. Any stretching routine should be discussed with doctors and medical providers before implementation.
Generally, it is a good idea to hold a stretch for about twenty to thirty seconds. Stretches shouldn’t be painful and are meant to release any tension at the very most. To ensure muscles are warmed up before your stretching routine, try to do something active like gardening, walking, or cleaning up around the house.
Dynamic vs. Static Stretches
There are two types of stretches that seniors can aim to implement into their daily routines. These are both static stretches and dynamic stretches.
Static stretches are usually held and aim to put tension on targeted muscles in the body. These moves are most beneficial after working out or doing something active, as muscles respond best to static stretches when they have already been warmed up.
Dynamic stretches can be done before performing an activity as they help muscles and joints warm up. They are done by incorporating a variety of motions and movements but with less intensity than a workout routine. Dynamic stretches are excellent for joint and muscle health and are wonderful activities.
Sample Stretches for Seniors
For seniors looking to get started with stretching, here are a few moves that might help in establishing a routine:
Lumbar Rotation: A great stretch when waking up in the morning
Chest Stretch: Good for breaking up a long period of sitting
Pelvic Bridge: Helpful to perform before a workout
Hip Flexor Stretch: Excellent stretch after a workout
As you can see, there are many excellent stretches that seniors can benefit from. Taking the time to establish a consistent stretching routine can help the aging body maintain a good range of motion and reduce unwanted muscle aches and pains. Stretching also pairs very well with other activities and exercises such as walking, and strength training.
Seniors can choose to perform static or dynamic stretches, depending on whether or not they are going to work out or do something active that day. For those that are interested, signing up for yoga classes can help stretch the body and deliver other positive physical benefits for seniors looking to maintain their strength and flexibility.
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