It is a common belief that growing older directly corresponds to decreased mobility and flexibility. While it’s not untrue that conditions such as osteoarthritis affect a great many older adults, it is likewise correct that there are proactive techniques which can be taken to establish optimum strength and stamina within your later years.
One of the best strategies to improve mobility is to include simple and easy stretches for flexibility into your daily routine. Stretching leads to improved posture and movement of joints, combined with reduced muscle discomfort and tension. It can also help lower the danger of falls and other accidental injuries, and boosts circulation, balance, coordination and muscle control.
Always remember to check with your loved one’s medical professional prior to starting any new workout program, and this includes stretching. Together with his or her consent, the following are ideal stretches for the elderly:
- Gradually bring down the chin towards the chest, and turn the head to one side for a count of 15; then repeat with the opposite side.
- Clutching a towel in one hand, lift the arm vertically and drape the towel behind your back; then grasp the bottom end of the towel using the other hand and stretch downward, holding for a count of 30.
- Lift both arms straight off to your 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 the other. Repeat with the other foot.
- While lying on your back, raise one leg, grab onto the back of the thigh, and carefully draw it towards you while the other leg and hip stay on the floor. Try not to pull on the knee. Do it again using the other leg.
- Lie on one side and bend the top leg so that your foot is behind you. Reach for the foot and draw it to the body until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat with the other leg.
- While lying on your back, move both legs and put feet together and flat on the ground. With knees together, carefully lower both legs to one side, twisting the torso until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat on the other side.
Always keep the following under consideration when undertaking these stretching exercises:
- Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly through the stretch.
- Use slow, controlled movements.
- Don’t ever stretch to the level of feeling pain.
- Warm the muscles up just before stretching with just a few minutes of physical activity, such as walking.
For further strategies to help seniors remain flexible and active, reach out to the professionals in dementia care in Kansas City at Hearts at Home In-Home Care. We are always readily available to provide motivation and support, to participate with seniors in exercise programs, and to provide transportation and accompaniment to the senior center or fitness center for exercise classes. To learn more about our exceptional services in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, contact us at 913-440-4209 and take the first step towards a healthier life for your senior loved one!