Many people want to stay independent for as long as possible, which is why it’s very important to remain nimble and flexible even as we age. Being flexible increases our range of motion and in turn, helps us to easily perform every task, such as bending down to tie shoelaces or reaching up to grab snacks in the pantry. These stretching exercises for seniors should help that feeling of independence. At first it may be hard to get old tendons to stretch a little. But once they do the stretching for a while, it can turn into an effective stretching routine for seniors.
For this reason, regular stretching exercises really help. Doing simple stretches every day can definitely improve your elderly loved one’s flexibility, lets them do daily tasks easily by decreasing the amount of energy needed to complete a chore, and lowers the risk of injuries.
Incorporating Stretching Exercises for Seniors Into Any Workout
If you want your elderly loved one to have a better overall quality of life, encourage them to stay physically active. After the stretching routine for seniors, regular exercise aids in keeping our bodies strong, corrects posture, and help combat certain diseases, such as diabetes. It also eases the pain seniors feel from arthritis, prevents falls, and positively influences your mood and mental health. If your elderly loved one hasn’t exercised in years, it’s never too late to be active.
If your loved one is already leading an active lifestyle, remind them to take the time to stretch their muscles before and after every routine. This helps in loosening the joints by stimulating the fluids within them, therefore preventing any injuries caused by friction. Additionally, stretching also lengthens the muscles making the body less prone to injury.
The following stretching exercises for seniors are not only for seniors but for people of all ages as well.
Disclaimer: Before starting any type of exercise, make sure to consult with your doctor or your healthcare provider, especially if your loved one has any particular conditions, such as muscle imbalance, spasticity, contractures, and the like. Consult with your personal trainer too so they can create a program that fits your needs.
The Hamstring Stretch is simplest course of action to take when exercising your hamstrings without causing damage to your back.
Get a sturdy stool and place your left foot up on the chair. Extend your left leg on the flat surface of the chair and gradually lean towards your foot. Make sure to keep your chest up and your back is straight. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. While doing this, you can also put pressure on your left knee to prevent it from bending. Be careful not to bounce as it can cause injury to the back muscles. Put your left foot down, switch legs, and repeat the same steps. Remember to release slowly when the stretching gets painful.
This exercise is important in helping the muscles on your shoulders and chest stretch.
Place yourself in a doorway that’s easy enough for both of your arms to reach. Lift your arms and bend your elbow to form a 90-degree angle. Place your left foot in front and the right foot at the back so that both feet are in two different rooms. Hold this position for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Hand Behind Back Towel Stretch
Grab a towel and throw it over your shoulder and position it vertically behind your back. Grab one end with your right hand at the small of your back and the other end with your left hand at the top of your back. Pull the towel with your left hand and hold that position for at least 10 to 30 seconds. Keep your right arm relaxed as you pull the other end with your left arm. Switch arms and repeat.
Strong ankles give our body balance as we walk. It allows us to propel our body forward. Ankle Circles help improve the flexibility in the ankles, therefore, maintaining our balance as we go about our everyday lives.
Get yourself comfortable in a sturdy chair and sit with your back straight. Stretch your left leg towards you while keeping the right foot in flat on the floor. Start to move your left foot in a circle. Do 10 to 20 circles in a clockwise direction and 10 to 20 in a counter-clockwise direction in each foot.
Neck Side Stretch
Sleeping without proper cushion can often cause tightness in the extensors of our short neck. It can also affect the disc spaces in our neck which will lead to arthritis and pinched nerves.
This stretch is one of the simplest stretch seniors can do every morning after they wake up. It reduces the tension that has developed on our neck from the long hours of sleep.
To begin, sit with your back straight and warm up your neck by leaning it gently to each of your shoulders. Next, put your left hand on your lap and lift your right hand over your head so that that palm rests on the left side of your head. Slowly pull your head to the right side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds before releasing and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Barriers to Stretching Exercises for Seniors
Though most seniors lack the motivation to exercise, some people below 65 are also often hesitant to do strenuous activities for various reasons such as:
- Not having any idea where to start
- Fear that they might get injured while exercising
- Considering thoughts that it might be too late for them to start exercising.
- Not having enough information about the advantages of exercising.
- Casting their belief in “no pain, no gain”
- Not getting into a stretching routine for seniors and making it easy to quit
A Paradise for Parents knows that it is very important to stay physically fit and healthy especially in our golden years. Our assisted living homes have a personal trainer who works closely with residents to ensure that their physical capabilities are accommodated.
If you want to know more about assisted living facilities, A Paradise for Parents staff and our resources can answer all your questions. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (623) 295-9890 or email us at Hal@aparadiseforparents.com to know more about the services we offer. You can also fill out an online form located on our homepage. We’d be happy to assist you in your search for an assisted living facility for your loved one.