If you’re feeling a little less flexible than usual, you’re not alone. We start to lose strength and flexibility in our joints as we get older, leading to reduced range of motion and eventual difficulty turning, bending, and lifting. This is especially true if you’ve spent a lot of time sitting, whether that be at a desk or in the driver’s seat of a car. Either way, flexibility exercises for seniors are a great way to increase your range of motion and maintain your mobility.
Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
Benefits of Stretching
Stretching has a wide variety of health benefits, especially for seniors. The benefits of stretching include increased strength, improved flexibility, improved posture, and increased circulation. One study even found that stretching can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper spinal alignment. Stretching is also great for stress relief, blood flow, and muscle tone.
How to Warm Up Before Stretching
Start by clearing a space for your flexibility routine free of chairs or couches. Make sure to warm up your muscles before beginning a flexibility program, as failure to do so could lead to muscle strain. Get your blood flowing by either walking or gently jumping in place for a few minutes. If you’d like to get your heart rate up, try some jumping jacks or deep knee bends. Make sure to breathe deeply and take things at your own pace. Overall, you know your body better than anyone else. For that reason, you should make sure to listen to your body and back off if a movement feels painful. You should also make sure to use good form during any stretching or flexibility program. Before starting a new physical activity routine, consult your doctor or a certified fitness professional for advice.
Stretching is at the core of any flexibility program. In general, you should perform a single stretch for up to 30 seconds, repeating as needed. Make sure to breathe deeply and move slowly as you stretch – you don’t want to force your body into a stretch too quickly. If you need ideas for stretches, resources like the Silver Sneakers program have stretching guides that include chair exercises for seniors with limited mobility. You can browse the Silver Sneakers website and choose specific flexibility exercises based on which part of your body you’d like to stretch. These stretches can also be a great way to recover from a more intense workout, like a jog or weight lifting session. Additionally, the Silver Sneakers resource includes tips to make the stretches easier for all mobility levels.
If you’d like to take your stretching routine to the next level, consider implementing a yoga practice. Regular yoga can work wonders for older adults, increasing flexibility, reducing stress, and even improving sleep. The word is out about yoga’s benefits: The 2016 Yoga in America Study found that nearly 14 million Americans over the age of 50 actively practice yoga. If you’d like to join those 14 million Americans, there are a wide variety of easy at-home yoga programs including the popular Yoga with Adriene.
Ongoing stretching and flexibility exercises for seniors are a great way to stay healthy and active. Stretching can also boost mental health and reduce sleep over time, making it a great daily practice to incorporate into your health and wellness routine. Just be sure to consult a doctor or fitness professional before beginning any exercise or flexibility routine.
At Springhouse Village, we know how important it is to enjoy your retirement in a lively and welcoming environment. We make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether that means encouraging residents to shop at local farmers markets or assisting them in starting a garden club, we strive to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the amenities and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.