Stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program. Unfortunately it does not replace exercise, but rather it complements it by increasing circulation, flexibility and balance. Other benefits from stretching exercises as we get older include maintaining flexibility to avoid injury and disability. Simple stretching exercises can help delay the onset of some chronic diseases associated with old age. And, for those curious about how to increase energy levels during the day, taking a break to stretch your muscles is a great way to get an instant energy boost too.
A few simple stretching exercises performed every morning can alleviate stiffness and prevent lower back pain brought on by unused muscles tightening up over time, causing anything from minor discomfort to severe backache.
Almost anyone can perform stretching exercises which in turn improve the ability to lift objects, bend over or reach out for something – tasks that are part of everyday life. Without regular stretching exercises to keep our bodies supple, it is easy to strain or pull a muscle. Stretching also prevents injury during other types of exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling or sports.
The Benefits of Stretching
- Allows us to perform everyday activities more safely
- Prevents injury by improving balance and suppleness
- Slows aging and eases digestion problems by improving circulation
- Releases tension
Examples of Simple Stretching Exercises for Seniors:
Sit on the floor with your legs together, stretched out straight in front of you. Reach out with your fingers a far as you can without pain. Hold for a count of five then relax. Repeat five times, trying to reach a little further each time.
Stand up and clasp your hands behind your back. Move your arms out away from your body and hold for a count of five, feeling the stretch in your chest and shoulders. Repeat five times, trying to reach a little further each time.
Wall Push Ups
Stand about two feet back from a wall. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and bend your arms, leaning in until your chin touches the wall. Hold for a count of five then straighten the arms. Repeat five times.
Yoga Lumbar Stretch
Get down on the floor on all fours. Breathe in, and arch your spine upwards with your head down. Hold for a count of three then breathe out, lifting the head and curling the spine downwards. Hold again and then repeat the full stretch five times.
Lower Back Stretch
Still on all fours, keep your hands on the floor and slowly push back until your buttock sits on your heels. Lower your head to the ground, arms stretched forward and relax. Walk your hands to the right until you feel a stretch in your left side and hold. Then walk your hands to the left and feel the stretch in your right side. Repeat three times.
Finish any stretching routine by lying on your back, drawing your knees up to your chest and wrapping your arms around them. Gently rock from side to side a few times before standing up.
Keeping flexible and supple is all part of a healthy lifestyle, along with eating wisely and taking daily supplements to support a healthy body. After all, you are only as old as you feel!