As we grow older, our muscles tend to shorten, which can make even the most simple movements difficult. For this reason, stretching exercises are among the most important exercise that a senior citizen needs to commit to doing. Stretching exercises are easy, low impact, and if done regularly, they will help keeping muscles elongated. Seniors who regularly perform stretching exercises have better range of motion, better posture and find that stretching lessens back pain and can help ease the discomfort of arthritis.
If you are a senior and wish to begin stretching exercise, first make certain that you have the go ahead from your doctor. When you begin to practice stretches, remember, to be gentle. Stretching may cause a pulling sensation in the muscles and joints, but stretches should never hurt. Stretches are best done slowly, and held in position for up to 30 seconds. Do not bounce while you are doing stretching exercise. Go slow at the start to warm up, then add more difficult stretches after you have worked your muscles a bit. It is important to stretch both upper and lower body muscles. Here are a few ideas for stretching exercises for seniors.
1. Either standing, or sitting in a chair, lift both of your arms up from your side, and up over your head. Extend them as fully as possible and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Slowly lower your arms back to your side. Repeat 5-10 times. You can also alternate arms, still holding the stretch in place, and bending slightly over your head to stretch out your side. Do not twist your body.
2. Again, either sitting, or standing, tip your head to one side gently until you feel a pull and hold the stretch for 20 seconds, then bring your head back up and stretch the other side of your neck. Repeat these stretches several time.
3. Clasp your hands behind your back and slowly raise your arms as far as you can and hold the position for 20-30 seconds. Slowly lower your arms and then repeat the exercise 3-5 times.
4. To stretch out your hips, sit on a chair with both feet on the floor. Cross one leg over the other until your ankle is resting on the knee of the bottom leg. Hold this position for as long as comfortable, then gently lower the top leg and repeat on the other side.
5. Sitting on a firm chair, slowly raise one leg until it is fully extended, hold the stretch while raising your foot and pulling it toward your body, pushing your heel out. Do not grab your foot. Let your leg do the work. Hold the stretch then lower your leg and repeat using the other leg. Alternate back and forth between the two legs 3-5 times.
6. Standing up, place your hands on your sides at the lower back region. Stand tall and open your chest cage, bringing your shoulders back and stretching your neck up. Hold the stretch, release and repeat. This is a great stretch to work out kinks and tension accumulated during the day.
Stretching exercises can be done throughout the day, and many can be done almost any place, and with no special equipment required. The more you stretch, and get into the habit of doing stretching exercises, the longer you are likely to remain limber and on the go.
Elderly Stretching Flexibility Exercises