The Benefits of Stretching in Older Adults

 Stretching has many benefits, and can be done anywhere and at any time.  In general, stretching helps with relaxation, and much flexibility can be gained from stretching on a regular basis.  Usually, stretching is done before and after exercises to warm up and soothe muscles. 

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However, stretching for older adults is a whole other story.  As we age, our muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity.  Older adults begin slowing down their movements and even give up their regular routines to avoid injury and falls as their bodies get weaker.  Stretching is an important part of an older adults’ flexibility and will help offset the effects of normal decline in the flexibility of your joints, and help you remain active and independent.  This is where stretching for older adults carries the most benefits.  But when stretching is added to your life, you’ll feel better and joint problems will improve.  Stretching can also improve blood circulation, reduce symptoms of disease and give you an overall feeling of wellbeing.

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12 Basic Stretches for Older Adults

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Taking little time out of your day can make a big difference in helping you keep fit in mind and body. Taking the time to practice will give you more freedom of movement and aid in everyday activities, such as getting dressed, showering, cooking, and reaching objects on low and high shelves.

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The National Institute of Health recommends these 12 basic stretches:

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Neck, Shoulder, Shoulder and Upper Arm Raise, Upper body, Chest, Back, Ankle, Back of Leg, Thigh, Hip, Lower back, and Calf stretch.

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Please click here for stretching videos and step by step instructions

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Stretching and increasing your flexibility can be a helpful tool in your health and wellbeing.  When you are ready to add these to your daily routine the stretch should be held for 10 – 20 seconds (make sure you don’t feel pain, just start to feel a stretch in the muscle you are stretching), and then repeat the stretch again and see if you can go a little further without causing pain.  Please feel free to ask the Wellness Center or doctor about which stretches would be appropriate for you.  

2015-05-26T21:23:48+00:00 Uncategorized|