Unless you’re an athlete or newborn baby, chances are you can use a bit more flexibility. Our overall flexibility naturally decreases with age, but doing regular stretches is one way to stay nimble, active, and not get overcome by joint stiffness that can lead to your becoming less mobile.
Why stretching is important
First, because it feels really good. Waking up in the morning is always when we’re most stiff. Taking a few minutes to loosen up those joints makes everything else a little bit easier that day. But stretching doesn’t have to be limited to the morning. Warm muscles are easier to stretch, so doing a few moves in the afternoon or evening works just as well. The other functional reason for stretching is that it will improve your range of motion. So when you’re reaching to grab something from the cupboard or chasing your grandchildren around your home, you’ll feel the difference.
Stretches you can do every day
1. Hip stretches
We don’t need to tell you how important it is to keep your hips from getting tight. Hips affect the way you stand, sit, walk and move around inside or outside your home. Your posture and spine alignment are just two ways you’ll benefit from this stretch. Here’s a video on some good hip stretches suggested by a professional.
2. Calf stretches
The calf is overlooked for how important it is to your mobility. Sometimes, though, your calf can get so tight that it becomes hard to squat to pick something off the floor. That’s what calf stretches are for. Here are some examples of safe ways to keep your calves loose.
3. Shoulder stretches
Shoulders are one of those muscles that are easy to get injured, especially as we age. Keeping the shoulders stretched and flexible can be done either sitting or standing. Check out how you can stretch your shoulders every morning or sometime during the day.
4. Hamstring stretches
Tight hamstrings can actually cause some other problems, namely annoying lower back pain. It can also be hard on your posture and affect the way you stand up. Try these stretches to help loosen those tight hamstrings.
5. Spinal/lower back stretches
This is a big one. Nothing happens if your spine isn’t in good working condition. As we age, spinal mobility declines which can trigger back pain, joint pain, and increase your chances of slipping and falling. These exercises should help keep your spine as flexible as possible.
As all these videos will tell you, it’s important to speak to your physician before doing any stretching. Once you get the OK, take your time getting started. Stretching is meant to improve certain aspects of your mobility. If at any time you’re just not feeling right, let your physician know.
Looking for more stretching tips? Read our article on the best yoga poses to increase flexibility.
Try an online stretching class for older adults
Move your body and calm your mind with Boomerang. Discover the potential that a challenged body and calm mind can unlock through online fitness classes for seniors like Stretch & Connect, Qigong, Taichi and Somatic Yoga.
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