A typical belief is that growing older unequivocally corresponds to diminished mobility and flexibility. Although it’s true that conditions including osteoarthritis impact many seniors, it is equally true that there are practical measures which may help guarantee higher levels of strength and stamina in your later years.
One of the recommended ways to boost mobility and flexibility is by starting a stretching routine. Stretching leads to better posture and movement of joints, on top of decreased muscle discomfort and stress. It may also help decrease the threat of falls and other injuries, and increases circulation, balance, coordination and muscle control.
Always remember to check with the senior’s medical professional before starting any new workout program, including stretching. Together with his or her approval, the following are wonderful stretches for older adults:
- Slowly and gradually bring down the chin towards the chest area, and move your head to one side for a count of 15; then repeat with the opposite side.
- Clutching a towel in one hand, raise the arm straight up and drape the towel behind the back; then take hold of the bottom end of the towel with your other hand and stretch downward, holding for a count of 30.
- Lift both arms straight to the sides, with palms facing forward; slowly reach the arms straight back until a stretching sensation is felt, and hold for a count of 30.
- From a seated position, raise one foot up and shift slowly from one side to another. Repeat with the other foot.
- While lying on your back, raise one leg, grab onto the back of the thigh, and gently pull it towards you while the other leg and hip remain on the ground. Be careful not to pull on the knee. Repeat using the other leg.
- Lie on one side and bend the top leg so your foot is behind you. Grab the foot and pull to the body until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat using the other leg.
- While lying on your back, bend both legs and put feet together and flat on the floor. With knees together, slowly lower both legs to one side, moving the torso until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat on the other side.
Always keep the following in mind when undertaking these stretching exercises:
- Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly during the entire stretch.
- Use slow, precise movements.
- Never stretch to the level of feeling pain.
- Warm the muscles up right before stretching with a few minutes of physical activity, such as walking.
For lots more strategies to assist older adults with remaining active and well, call the St. Louis senior care team at Compassionate Nursing Services. We’re always readily available to provide motivation and support, to participate with seniors in exercise programs, and also to provide transportation and accompaniment to the senior center or fitness center for exercise classes. Email or call us at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our exceptional home care services in St. Louis and the surrounding area, and take the initial step towards a healthier life for a senior loved one!