Stretching Tips for Aging Adults

Stretching Tips for Aging Adults

Stretching Tips for Aging Adults

Stretching is one of those things that is very easy to do, yet it has complex and profound benefits. For example, having tight hamstrings can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, and knee pain. But a few minutes a day of stretching can prevent this kind of trouble from happening. In this blog, we will go over some of the main benefits of stretching and what stretches you can practice to help promote a pain- and injury-free life.

There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching is when you position yourself for a stretch and hold that position for 10 seconds to 30 seconds (or longer). Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, is meant to stretch a group of muscles at once. It often includes making larger movements with a part of your body, and sustaining that movement as you stretch. An example would be swinging your arms up, holding for two seconds, and then back down. [1]

Benefits of Stretching

Prevents Injuries: Many injuries result from strains and sprains. For example, you could be walking down the sidewalk, and all of a sudden, your ankle rolls and now you are injured. Or, you bend over to pick something up and when you come back up you feel a sharp pain travel through your lower back. These kinds of injuries can often be traced back to inflexible muscles that, when overextended, are prone to sprain and strain. Stretching everyday can help make you more flexible and limber for life’s unexpected accidents.

Can help with exercise: If you exercise regularly, like go for walks, lift weights, or swim, then stretching can help you perform more efficiently, as well as avoid injuries during exercises. Stretching can help warm you up and cool you down after an exercise.

Helps improve blood circulation: Stretching helps promote more blood flow to your muscles.

Improved posture: Many times, when muscles are tight, they pull parts of are body away from the positions where they are supposed to be. For example, a tight neck can pull your shoulders upward, leading to other muscular imbalances in other parts of your back, just like a domino effect. Stretching can help restore balance between your different muscles.

Types of Stretches

(1) Hamstring: Because we are a society that is very sedentary, many people have jobs or adopt habits that involve sitting down for long periods of the day. Sitting can have negative consequences[2] on other parts of your body, and it makes our hamstrings tight, because our legs are usually flexed when we are seated. As a result, hamstring tightness leads to a host of problems like knee pain, lower back soreness, and tightness in other areas of your body. Here are two types of hamstring stretches:

Static: Find a chair and put it near a wall. Use the wall to keep you balance. Put one foot on the chair and flex your foot back. Keep a slight bend in the knee you are standing on and hinge backwards at the hips. You should feel stretch in the back of your leg.

Dynamic: Note: this stretch may be a bit more physically demanding, so be aware. Spread your legs wider than hip-distance apart, and slowly bend down and let your torso hang over your legs. Fold your arms over your head and relax every muscle in your torso. Swing slowly from side-to-side and feel a stretch in the back of your legs. To get back up, squeeze your glute muscles and come up VERY slowly. Do not come up too fast as this may lead to injury.

(2) Head Rolls (Trapezius stretch): This stretch involves stretching the muscles around your neck. Stand up straight, and tilt your head slowly to the right side and feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Slowly roll your head forward, and go to the other side, stretching the opposite side of your neck. Do this however many times you would like. Only roll your head forward to change sides, do not roll your head back since they may strain your neck and spine.

(3) Glute Stretches: Lie on the floor or a bed (whichever will be easier to get back up from). Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, cross one foot over your thigh, resting your ankle just above the opposite knee. You should see a triangle shape that your legs make. Now, put one arm through the triangle and grab the back of the leg that is still planted on the ground. The other hand should come around the other side of the leg, also grabbing the back of planted leg. Pull that leg closer to your chest and you should feel a stretch in the buttock of the leg that is crossed over. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on both sides.

(4) Quad stretch: Another negative impact of sitting for too long is quadriceps tightness. To stretch this muscle, stand up straight near a wall to keep balance. Curl one leg behind you and grab your foot with your hand, keep a slight bend in the standing knee, pulling the other foot closer to your buttocks. Make sure you do not slouch or let your core muscles relax. Squeeze your glute muscles to feel the stretch more intensely. Switch sides

As always, before doing any form of physical exercise, make sure you consult with a doctor, especially if you have any injuries.

To learn more about ElderCare at Home, call 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: https://yurielkaim.com/stretching-exercises-seniors/

[2] Source: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-sitting-health

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