It is a common belief that aging corresponds to diminished mobility and flexibility. While it’s correct that conditions such as osteoarthritis impact numerous seniors, it is likewise true that you can find practical measures that can be taken to guarantee optimum strength and stamina during your later years.
One of the most effective ways to become more flexible and increase mobility is through introducing simple stretching exercises into the day-to-day routine. Stretching leads to improved posture and movement of joints, combined with reduced muscle soreness and tension. It can also help lessen the chance of falls and other injuries, and increases circulation, balance, coordination and muscle control.
Always remember to check with your health care provider prior to beginning any new exercise regimen, and this includes stretching. Together with his or her consent, the following are great stretches for seniors:
- Gradually bring down the chin to the chest, and rotate the head to one side for a count of 15; then repeat with the opposite side.
- Holding a towel in one hand, lift the arm vertically and hang the towel behind your back; then get hold of the bottom end of the towel using the other hand and stretch downward, holding for a count of 30.
- Raise both arms straight to the sides, with palms facing forward; slowly and gradually reach the arms straight back until a stretching sensation is felt, and hold for a count of 30.
- From a seated position, raise one foot up and move slowly from one side to the other. Repeat using the other foot.
- While lying on your back, raise one leg, grab onto the back of the thigh, and gently pull it towards you while the other leg and hip remain on the floor. Be careful not to pull on the knee. Repeat using the other leg.
- Lie on one side and bend the top leg so your foot is behind you. Grab the foot and pull towards the body until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat using the other leg.
- While lying on your back, move both legs and put feet together and flat on the floor. With knees together, carefully bring down both legs to one side, rotating the torso until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat on the other side.
Always bear the following in mind when performing these stretches for seniors:
- Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly during the entire stretch.
- Use slow, measured movements.
- Don’t ever stretch to the level of feeling pain.
- Warm the muscles up right before stretching with just a few minutes of physical activity, such as walking.
To get more strategies to help older adults improve wellness and flexibility, contact the senior care experts in Des Moines and the surrounding area, At-Home Care Company. We are always on hand to give you motivation and encouragement, to participate with seniors in exercise programs, and also to provide transportation and accompaniment to the senior center or fitness center for exercise classes. Reach out to us today at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our services and take the first step towards a healthier life for a senior loved one!