Stretching For Seniors- The Importance of Flexibility For Seniors
Seniors today need to make sure that they are taking care of their minds and especially their bodies as they continue to age. Getting exercise is really important for seniors, but in addition to regular cardiovascular exercise such as walking, seniors also need to make sure that they are stretching regularly as well. Most seniors today don’t stretch on a regular basis, and they rarely even think about adding stretching to their daily routine.
The Benefits of Stretching for Seniors
Regular stretching can come with some fantastic benefits for seniors including increased range of motion and flexibility. What many seniors don’t realize is that routine stretching can also help them maintain great posture. So many seniors today suffer with posture issues, walking bent forward and problems with a rounded back. The chances of developing these problems can decrease significantly with routine stretching.
How Seniors Can Stretch Safely
Seniors who are ready to start stretching will find that stretching can be a great form of exercise to include in their daily routine. However, it is important that they keep these stretching safety tips in mind to ensure they are taking the process seriously and aren’t hurting themselves.
- Start slow and warm up the body first. Take a short walk or move around to get the body warm before stretching.
- Be patient. Most seniors have gotten stiff due to years of bad habits, it will take some time to see a change in flexibility and range of motion.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to keep the muscles refreshed and healthy.
- Keep your spine in mind, don’t strain your neck or spine trying to perform a certain stretch, it is not worth hurting yourself.
- Take deep, relaxed breaths while stretching, no one should ever hold their breath while stretching.
Seniors should try to hold each of their stretches for about a minute each, instead of doing dynamic, moving stretches. The most important safety tip, however, is to never force a stretch if it is uncomfortable or hurts. This is a sign that you are putting too much pressure on the body and need to stop.
Why is Stretching so Important
Unfortunately for seniors a reduction in joint mobility is actually a very common side effect of aging. One of the best ways to improve this joint mobility without dangerous side effects or invasive procedures is to start stretching. When seniors lose their joint mobility it can make performing even the simplest everyday tasks a challenge. From the age 70 to the age 92, seniors will experience a major decline in their joint range of motion and while it may not seem like a big deal to some, these limitations can have a serious impact on seniors.
Not being able to reach items in a cabinet, sweep the floors or take out the trash may seem like minor side effects of limited joint movements, but for seniors being unable to do these things, may mean it is no longer safe for them to live on their own. Simply stretches can increase this mobility and make it easier for seniors to live safely and independently, all while improving their overall quality of life.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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