Stretching For Seniors – Our Guide To Continued Health & Well Being

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It may seem like stretching and flexibility are straight forward ideas, and to a large extent, they are, at least when you’re young.

However, as one ages, it’s more important to take necessary precautions when engaging in physical activities, including stretching.

When you were young, if you felt a slight pain in your knee, you’d probably just throw a few kicks into the air and the problem would have resolved itself. Try that when you’re in your seventies and you might end up dislocating your hip.

You have no choice but to be more careful in your approach.

Below you’ll find our complete guide to stretching, that you should abide by if you’re in your “senior” years, like over 65.  

While they are applicable to any age, they’re more important when you’re older.

Table of Contents:

Let’s begin!


check with doctor first before stretching

To Do Before You Start Your Stretching Routine

1. Check with your doctor first

Yes, even stretching sessions should come with your doctor’s approval.

Some seniors may have back problems or joint issues that can be aggravated when certain stretches are done. So, your doctor will be the best person to advise you here.

2. Always warm up first

It may seem contradictory that you need to warm up before stretching since most people assume that stretching is warming up. In reality, warming up refers to some light cardio that gets your blood circulation going.

A brisk walk for 5 minutes should warm your joints and body up enough for you to stretch. The muscles will not be cold, and will be much more responsive to your stretching.

Here is a sample of a routine you might want to consider using.  BeachBabyBob is almost 74.

3. Breathe

While stretching, it’s important to maintain a slow steady breath. This will calm your body down.

The body’s para sympathetic response will kick in and your muscles will relax. This will make them more pliable and you can stretch better.

4. Take it slow

When you first start on a flexibility training program, you may find that your range of motion is limited. Do not try to rush the process and speed things up by taking on more than you can handle.

Aim to stretch gently, and to the point where you feel some tension, but not discomfort. Every day, try to make a little progress. Over time your range of motion will increase, and you’ll be more flexible.

5. Hold the stretch

When you stretch, you need to hold the static stretch for 20 seconds to a minute. This will help your body relax into the stretch. It’s important to hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds to get the lengthening benefit that the muscles need.

6. Don’t push past pain

If it hurts, stop. Do not make the mistake of thinking pain is gain. With flexibility, you must take the slow and steady approach.

7. Easy in, easy out

When doing stretches, you want good form. Ease into the stretch gradually and gently – and ease out of it just as smoothly. As a senior, you do not want to engage in jerky, ballistic movements.

8. Consistency is key

Aim to stretch 4 to 7 times a week. Ideally, stretching can and should be done daily. It’s not strenuous. So, most seniors will be able to do about 10 to 20 minutes a day without any problem.

Remember these 8 points and make stretching a part of your daily routine. Your body will thank you for it.


benefits of stretching for seniors

Benefits of Stretching

Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates physical fitness system once said, ìf your spine is stiff at 30, you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.

He couldn’t have said it better. However, when you’re young, you’re healthier, stronger and your body is less sensitive. As age creeps up on you, you’ll lose muscle mass and your body is more sensitive to pain.

Since many people do not engage in resistance training to retard the muscle loss, the muscle fibers in the body start decreasing. They are then replaced by collagen which will get stiffer with time and reduce one’s mobility.

The best way to remedy this problematic situation is with regular stretching. There are a multitude of benefits that can be accrued just by stretching for about 15 to 20 minutes a day. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

* Reduces stress

Stretching is a good form of stress relief. One may wonder which type of stress a senior in his or her golden years may face. After all, they’re probably retired and are living a life of relative ease, right?

Wrong. Seniors face stress too. It could be health issues, loneliness, etc. Stress affects everyone to varying degrees. Daily stretching sessions will help seniors to alleviate stress.

* Maintains mobility

The more limber you are, the more easily you’ll move. Climbing the stairs, bending down to pick up the newspaper, etc. will be much easier to do because your body is flexible.

* Eases pain

Neck aches, back aches, etc. can all be relieved to some degree with daily stretching. Not only will the sessions improve one’s blood circulation, but the tightness that causes the muscle imbalance and pain will be eased and this will bring about pain relief.

* Prevents insomnia

Stretching about 30 minutes prior to bedtime will help to relax the body. Of course, the stretching has to be slow and relaxed. This will help to calm your body down and allow you to sleep more easily.

* Improves physical performance

It goes without saying that seniors should lead an active lifestyle. Walking, cycling, swimming, etc. can be done well into your later years. Resistance training is also a must to prevent muscle atrophy.

By being flexible, you’ll be able to perform much better at all these sports. Your body has a greater range of motion. You move faster and more easily because you’re flexible. Your athletic performance is improved when you’re limber.

* Improves posture

Stretching regularly will help to prevent the hunched appearance that so many seniors have. Stretching helps to strengthen your muscles too. You’ll be able to stand straight without hunching.

Very often, seniors hunch because the muscles are tight. That’s why training methods such as yoga and Pilates are so helpful for seniors. They help to strengthen the body while increasing flexibility.

* Prevents cramps and injuries

By being flexible, you’ll be less prone to cramps, sprains, etc. Just ensure you’re getting enough water daily so that you’re not dehydrated.

By now, you should be aware of just how beneficial regular stretching can be, and the points mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a good video from Ottawa’s own Dr. Chris, talking about bodyweight strength training and exercises for better posture.

It’s important to get the basics right, and make sure all our movements are natural and will not lead to injury.  Adopt a daily stretching routine and in about 3 weeks to a month, you’ll feel the difference and never look back.


stretching misconceptions

Common Misconceptions & Mistakes

If you’ve read the book entitled “Stretching” that was written by Bob Anderson back in 1975, you would have noticed a very important quote in it.

Bob wrote, “If you stretch correctly and regularly, you’ll find that every movement you make becomes easier.”

All these years later and his quote still holds true, because human anatomy hasn’t changed much. The more flexible you are, the easier your movements will be.

This is especially important when you lose the vim and vigor of youth, and you’re in your senior years, where even reaching for the tv remote seems like a feat of Olympic proportions.

Even though stretching and flexibility are of paramount importance regardless of age, most people barely give them any thought.

For those who do give flexibility training some thought, there are still a lot of common mistakes made, and misconceptions held, that don’t carry any weight.

Up next, you’ll discover how to avoid the mistakes, and understand that flexibility can be improved.

* You’re too old to stretch

You’re never too old to start. In fact, if you’re not flexible, it’s even more important to start, despite your age.

You’ll notice that as the days and weeks go by, you’ll become more limber, stronger and have better balance.

There are many seniors who achieve a high level of flexibility, even when they’re in their “golden” years. The key is consistency in training.

* You need to already be flexible

You do not need to be a contortionist to start stretching.  Anyone and everyone should try to stretch daily.

* No pain, no gain

Stretching should be done in a controlled manner that is slightly challenging but NOT painful. You just want to do your best to stretch as far as you can, without feeling pain.

Flexibility training is meant to be gradual and progressive. No force or pain required. This is not a kung fu movie where you need to do splits and high kicks.

Three Common Mistakes

* Only stretching the “tight” muscles

One of the most common mistakes people make is to only stretch the area that is feeling tight or sore. For example, if their neck hurts, they may do neck rotations and stretches and call it a day.

Your body works synergistically. You need to not only stretch your neck, but also your back, shoulders and hips, because all of your body parts are connected..

Ideally, you should focus on a series of stretches that work the entire body from head to toe.

* Inconsistency

Unlike cardio or resistance training, you can and should stretch daily. In fact, seniors should stretch once in the morning to get their circulation going, and once at night, to be all limber and “loose”.

Flexibility will only improve if you do it regularly and consistently. This is the cornerstone of successful stretching.  

Here is a series of movements that you can do first thing in the morning to wake your body up, and just before bed to let your body know that it is time to sleep.

 

* Same old same old

Many people do the same old stretching routine ad nauseum. Don’t make that mistake. Try and vary your stretches, and do a few different ones every week. This will ensure that you target a wide range of muscles, and it will also be more interesting.

To wrap things up, observe the points above and make stretching a priority in your life. Even 15 minutes a day can work wonders if applied on a consistent basis.

“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” – Anonymous

Read our review of the Best Treadmills for Seniors in 2020 


types of stretching

Four Stretching Methods You Can Use

As far as stretching goes, the methods are not too complicated and the 4 shown below are effective. Seniors may wish to give the different methods a try, but they should be aware of their limitations before engaging in dynamic stretching.

The key to benefitting from stretching is to do short sessions often, rather than long sessions once or twice a week. As a senior, short 5-minute stretches done about 3 or 4 times a day will keep you more limber than a 45-minute yoga session that you do once a week.

 Let’s look at the 4 most common and effective types of stretching.

1. Static stretching

This is without a doubt the best style of stretching for seniors. Static stretching is about stretching a muscle to the point where you feel mild discomfort, and holding that stretch for 20 seconds to a minute.

By holding the stretch, you’ll allow your body to relax into the stretch. It is during these 20 to 30 seconds that the stretched muscle elongates and allows you to get more flexible.

Over time, your maximum limit for the stretch will increase, because your range of motion is improving.

For example, if you could only touch your knees when you bent forward before, you’ll notice that after a while you’ll be able to touch your shin – and some time after that, your ankles – and finally your toes.

Your flexibility has improved with regular practice. That’s always how it is. Seniors who achieve this level of flexibility will have no problems bending over or picking things up.

2. Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretches involve rhythmic and controlled movements to warm up  your joints and muscles. For example, forward leg swings are a form of dynamic stretching. You’ll be swinging your leg forward as high as you can go.

By doing so, you’ll be stretching mainly glutes,and hamstrings. The important point to note about dynamic stretching is that it’s not recommended for seniors who have back issues, joint problems etc.

While the movements are controlled, it is not as safe for seniors as static stretching. This is especially true if the senior has led a sedentary lifestyle for years.

3. Foam rolling

Over the years, foam rolling has seen a massive boost in popularity in the fitness industry. It ís used as a stretching technique to release myofascial tension. You’ll need to buy a foam roller (which is very affordable) for this style of stretching.

Seniors may wish to get a yoga mat too. Using a foam roller will require you to lie on the floor, and roll in certain positions, so that your bodyweight and the rolling can ease the tightness in your muscles.

However, seniors often tend to have less fat between their skin and bones, which can make lying on the ground painful.  So, extra cushioning in the form of a yoga mat will help.

4. PNF

PNF is known as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and it’s a very popular method that’s used in the Eastern European countries to train  gymnasts and athletes.

The method of stretching uses tension and release in the muscles without you moving much at all. For example, if you’re trying to do the front splits, you’ll have one leg in front and one leg at the back. Most people will not be able to go beyond a certain point due to a lack of flexibility.

At this point, you’ll need to contract and tighten your muscles in the area that’s feeling the stretch. You’ll hold this contraction for about 5 to 8 seconds. Then you’ll release it and try to stretch further. By all appearances, it doesn’t look like you’ve moved at all.

But your muscles are contracting and releasing, and over time your flexibility will improve. This is a very effective form of stretching.

Seniors would do well to start off with static stretching. Over time, they can incorporate other stretching methods to add variety and get more benefits.

What really matters is to try and stretch daily. This will serve you well for years to come.

If this is all too much for you, maybe you could try these chair stretches.

Read our full review here of the Best Walking Shoes For Women in 2020


assess flexibility seniors

Tips To Assess Your Flexibility

Any senior who is deciding to be proactive about stretching and increasing their flexibility is on the right track.

However, before you start on your journey, it’s important to know where you currently stand.

The only way to do that is to assess your level of flexibility before starting. This will give you an idea of how much progress you’ve made. You’ll also be aware of  your limitations, and weak spots. 

The first point to note is that generally, the older you are, the less flexible you’ll be. This is often the norm unless you’ve been engaging in regular yoga sessions throughout your life or you have a gymnastics training background and kept up with your flexibility training through the years.

Most seniors lead sedentary lives, so, it’s normal for one to be more rigid and inflexible due to age.

* Health inventory

Take a brief health inventory and ask yourself questions such as: Do you have back issues? Shoulder pain? Neck problems? Knee problems?

Knowing what health problems you have, will allow you to work around them, or alleviate them.

For example, if you have knee pain, doing hamstring stretches and hip stretches may relieve the pain. They may seem unrelated, but tight muscles in these areas can cause knee pain.

* Check with your doctor

Speak to your doctor and check if you have any conditions that will limit your activities. For example, seniors with bad backs are often told not to engage in activities like gardening, because of the strain it places on the back.

* Any stiffness?

Is there any part of you that feels stiff? Maybe you wake up every morning and your neck feels tight, or after sitting for a while, stretching your legs may seem difficult.

All these are hints given off by the body, telling you that these areas need more attention and stretching.

* Do a few simple tests 

Stand in front of a mirror and do a postural evaluation. Are you hunching? Are your shoulders drawn forward?

Can you bend forward and touch your toes? If you can’t, how far can you go? Your forward flexion is a good indication of how flexible you are.

Do the same with a lateral flexion and extension. In other words, a side bend of your trunk, and leaning backwards to see how far back you can go.

Are you able to clasp your hands behind your back? Can your head turn from side to side with maximum range of motion?

Ideally, you should have someone nearby to spot you. Since seniors may have balance issues, having someone by their side to help them out is an excellent idea.

or try these …

* Take notes

It’s best to write down notes on your range of motion so that you have some record to measure your progress.

For example, if you can only touch your knees when you bend forward, after 3 months of daily stretching, you may be able to touch your toes. That is definitely progress.

The same applies to other movements like trunk rotations, hamstring stretches and so on. You can only know how far you’ve come when you know where you used to be.

Once you embark on a stretching program, aim to do it 4 to 7 times a week. Stretching can be done daily. Over time you will see and feel the difference.

Flexibility takes time, but with consistency, you will see results.


stretch routine seniors

Structuring a Stretching Routine

The importance of having a proper stretching routine cannot be overstated. Stretching effectively is not about doing a few leg swings and torso twists and calling it a day.

Some seniors like to swing their arms in an exaggerated manner thinking that this improves their flexibility when in reality, it really doesn’t do that much for them at all.

Becoming more flexible and limber requires a more methodical approach. In this article, we’ll look at how to structure a stretching routine that most seniors will be able to follow.

* Warming up

Before doing any stretch, it’s important to warm up the body with some cardiovascular activity. This is especially true, when you’re stretching after waking up.

A brief 5-minute walk on the treadmill should suffice to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.

If you don’t have a treadmill, just stand and march on the spot.  Once that is done, you can proceed with the stretches.  A  5-minute warm-up should be right at the top of your stretching routine.

* Sequence of stretches

There needs to be a sequence in your stretches. Some people start with head rotations and work down to the legs, while others start with ankle rotations and work up to the head.

Either way is fine, but what matters is that you follow a sequence.

Randomly doing knee circles, followed by back bends, and then back to ankle rotations will mean that you may forget to stretch some muscles and joints, because you’re all over the place. By following an order, your stretching sessions will be more effective. 

If you do the “Golden Eight” routine mentioned in the routine above, you’ll have the consistency you need.

* Types of stretches

You need to know exactly what and how many types of stretches you’re doing. It all depends on how much time you have. If you wish to stretch for 30 minutes, you can include more stretches.

If you can only spare 15 minutes, then you’ll need to trim it down, and only include the most important stretches.

You’ll need to have stretches for the neck, shoulders, back, torso, hips, wrists and legs.

Try to hold your stretch for 2 minutes!  The longer you hold the positive, the more your muscles will stretch.  If you haven’t got the time, just stretch less muscle groups.

If you have been stretching and you want to try something a little more challenging, give these a try, but remember … there should never be any pain.

* Any equipment required?

If you’re using resistance bands, foam rollers, yoga mats, Swiss balls, etc. its best to have all the equipment ready before you start. Having an equipment checklist prior to working out will help you get it all in order before you start stretching.

* Mobility issues

For some seniors, standing may be an issue. In cases like these, the stretches can be modified so that they can be performed while seated. You can still do trunk twists, neck rolls, wrist rolls, hamstring stretches, etc. even if you’re seated.

By taking all these factors into account beforehand, you’ll be able to tailor a stretching routine that is just right for you. Do speak to your doctor about the stretches that you plan on doing and he or she will be able to advise you on what you should and should not do.

Once you have a stretching routine in place, you can use it for 8 weeks. After that, you may wish to create a new routine with new moves to add some variety and challenge in your stretching sessions.

This series of stretches might be exactly what you have been looking for …

Just remember to plan well before you get started, and once you have the plan, do work it.

Read our full review here of the Best Walking Shoes For Men in 2020


hit stretches for seniors

The Hips, Glutes and Legs

It may be interesting to note that back pain could be due to tight muscles in the hip, while knee pain could be due to tight muscles in the leg.

The body works synergistically, and everything affects everything else.

Here, we’ll look at how you can stretch your hips, buttocks and legs. There is a plethora of stretches out there, and the ones below are just a few to get you started.

Do your research online or get a book on stretching and learn new stretches.

You need stretches for your upper legs and lower legs. 

* Hips and glutes stretches

Hip rotations are one good way to warm up. Place your hands on your hips and rotate in circles – first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

Another good stretch is The Butterfly. Sit on the floor and place both soles of your feet against each other. Now hold your feet together and lean forward till you can feel the stretch.

The Figure 4 stretch is one of the best stretches you can do.

If you’re doing it lying down – lie on your back and place your left foot across your right thigh.

This should look like a figure 4. Now, lift your right leg up and place your hand under your right thigh and pull it towards you to further stretch the hips. Repeat on the other side too.

* Leg stretches

The stretches shown here will stretch both your upper and lower legs.

Assume a standing position and place your left foot outstretched on a chair. Now bend over forward until you feel your hamstrings stretch. Hold the stretch for as long as you can.  Then repeat on the other side. 

Most people have tight hamstrings, and this is an excellent move for them to do regularly.

These 2 physiotherapists are fun to watch and are very knowledgeable.

Another stretch that you can do is to lie on the floor and pull your left knee up towards your chest. Hug your knee for about 30 seconds and now repeat on the other side. This will stretch your hamstrings too.

The wide-legged forward bend is a stretch done by almost all gymnasts, martial artists and ballet dancers. It is the foundation for achieving the splits.

Stand with both your legs as wide apart as they can go. Now lean forward and place your palms on the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.  Be very careful and for some of you, you may never straighten up again.

Or …. watch this

Now that we’ve stretched the hamstrings, it’s time for the quadriceps.

The best way to stretch them is to stand and bend your left leg behind with your knee pointing down. Grip your left foot with your left hand and pull it towards your buttocks. Repeat on the other side.

For the lower legs, you can do ankle rotations which is straightforward move. Another stretch you can do is to place your left foot against the bottom of a wall and move closer to the wall. You should be able feel the stretch in your calf muscles. Now repeat with the other leg.

By doing these stretches, you should be able to stretch quite a few muscles in your lower body.

Of course, if you wish to do more, you can always get a book to guide you, or just surf online where all the information is at your fingertips.


neck stretch for seniors

The Neck, Shoulders and Wrists

Neck aches and shoulder aches are usually more common in younger adults who spend a lot of time hunched over their computer or desks in a kyphotic position.

However, there are also seniors who may find that their necks and shoulders are stiff and tight every morning when they wake up. This problem can be alleviated by stretching the neck and shoulder muscles.
As for the wrists, this is a common problem area for many seniors because the wrist muscles can get stiff and may even be prone to repetitive strain injury.

Arthritis can be a problem too. So, stretching your wrist muscles and joints will keep them supple and get the blood flowing.

* Neck stretches

Before doing any neck stretches, it’s a good idea to do a warm up by doing head rolls, tilts, nods, etc.

Basically, you’ll be nodding your head up and down, tilting your head from side to side, looking left and right and rolling your head from left to right and back again.

Most people intuitively know what they need to do to stretch their neck muscles. They just donít do it regularly enough and only resort to stretching when there is pain.

One static stretch for the neck is to bring your chin towards your chest. You may clasp your palms behind your head and pull downwards gently to assist with the stretch. Hold the position for 20 seconds to a minute, or longer as mentioned earlier.

Do this stretch sideways too. You can assist by placing your palm on the opposite side of your head and pull gently towards the side.  Gently remember … no pain.

* Shoulder stretches

To stretch your shoulders, try doing shrugs by bringing your shoulders towards your ears and bringing them down. This is an effective stretch.

Another stretch that you can do is to bend your arms and place your fingertips on your shoulders. Now, make circles with your elbows to loosen the shoulder muscles.

Then move your elbows apart till they are at your sides and twist your trunk sideways to the left. Hold this position and then switch to the right side. This stretch is so good that you’ll feel much better almost immediately.

Other stretches that you can do are posterior shoulder stretches, shoulder blade reach stretches and arm wraps.

* Wrist stretches

Stretching the wrist is very easy. Straighten your arm with your palm facing the ground and pull your fingers back upwards towards you.

Now reverse it by pushing your fingers downwards towards you. These stretches are known as wrist flexor and wrist extensor stretches respectively.

You can also do wrist rolls where you ball up your fists and rotate them in circles. Another stretch done in yoga is to assume a prayer pose where both your palms are together at chest level.

Then it’s just a matter of pushing your palms to the sides, outwards, downwards, etc.

Do these stretches a couple of times a day. They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. The more regularly you do them, the more limber and pain-free you’ll be.

Coach Dan, at Human 2.0 in Ottawa has some more suggestions here.

Read our full review here of the Best Walking Sandals for Women with Bunions

 

The Torso and Back


cat camel stretch

One of the most important areas to stretch is the back. Many seniors find it difficult to bend over or twist from side to side because of a lack of flexibility in their spine.

While age-related issues can cause the spine to have problems, a lot of these issues can be mitigated by drinking sufficient water and stretching daily.

You should also know that tight hamstrings can cause lower backache too. Most people don’t realize this and assume that just because the pain is located in the back, the problem must be there. This is not true.

That’s why it’s important to have a stretching routine that works the entire body.

Here, we’ll look at a few very effective stretches that should be done daily to help improve strength and flexibility in the back and torso.

* Cat-camel

This is one of the most popular yoga poses and it’s a good one. It will help to loosen your upper back. To do it, you’ll need to get on your hands and knees. You may wish to use a yoga mat if your palms or knees hurt.

Now align your palms below your shoulders and your knees should be below your hips. Your back should be like a tabletop.

Now inhale and allow your belly to sink towards the floor as you slowly raise your chin upwards. Your back should form a concave curve like the kind a cat makes when it’s stretching.

When you exhale, raise your back up and try to make it form a convex shape (rounded) similar to a camel’s hump.

Do this up and down move in a controlled manner several times to ease the tension in your lower back.

* Standing twist

Like its name suggests, you’ll be standing and twisting from side to side. This is a dynamic stretch, but don’t be too vigorous.

Stand straight and twist your trunk from left to right. This is ideal for improving your range of motion when it comes to twisting your trunk.

* Side bends

Stand straight with your legs slightly apart. Raise both your arms above your head and interlink your fingers.

Next, you will slowly lean to the left side. You shouldn’t be leaning forwards or backwards. The goal here is to stretch the side of your torso.

Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the right side. Do this move several times in each session.

* Forward and back bends

The most basic of all stretches. Stand straight and bend over and try to touch your toes. If you can’t reach it, that’s fine. Just go as far as you can go and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

Now stand straight, place both your hands on your lower back and gently lean backwards to stretch the other way. These stretches will ensure that your lower back gets a good stretch.

Do check with your doctor before doing them. Some seniors may have conditions that get aggravated when these stretches are performed.

So, it’s best to know what you can and can’t do. Once your doctor gives you the thumbs up, do make these stretches a part of your daily routine.


seated side bends seniors

6 Stretches To Do Before Bed

We talked about this briefly above.  You could just repeat the “Golden Eight” at bedtime, and call it a night.

One of the best ways to calm your body down and get it in a relaxed state that’s conducive for a good night’s sleep, is to engage in a few pre-bedtime stretches. Not only will these stretches relax you, but you’ll also wake up refreshed and less stiff.  

It is also important to sleep on your side, not your stomach or your back.  Bob and Brad are here once again to help you get the most out of sleeping.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to warm up when doing stretches before bed. The goal is to wind you down and not perk you up.

The first step is deep breathing. You need to watch your breathing when doing the stretches mentioned below.

The stretches below are relaxing and do not require much effort or exertion. So, inhale and exhale deeply and in a rhythmic fashion.

Always exhale on the exertion!

 

1. Seated side bends

Cross your legs and raise your left arm above your head. Now lean sideways to the right so that the side of your torso gets a good stretch. Next, repeat on the other side with your right arm raised.

2. Cat-camel

Get on all fours. Inhale slowly and drop your belly down and arch your back as you look upwards. Next, exhale as you bring your hips up and round your back like a camel’s hump. Do this move a couple of times.

3. Child’s pose

Sit on your heels with your back upright. Now slowly lean forward till your forehead touches the floor. Your arms should be relaxed and by your side. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. This should stretch your lower back.

4. Back stretch

From the child’s pose, straighten both your arms out in front of you and reach as far as you can go. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Lying twist

Lie on your back with both your arms stretched out on the floor at shoulder level. Keep your feet close together.

Bring both knees upwards and towards your chest. Now lower both knees to the left side. This should twist your trunk sideways. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.

6. Happy Baby

This yoga stretch with the cute name is a pose that’s similar to what babies do. Lie on your back, bring both your legs up with the soles facing the ceiling. Your knees should be bent and your feet low enough for your palms to grip your soles.

This is like baby playing with his feet and toes. You need to grab the big toe of each foot and bring your knees closer to your chest. If possible, you may wish to rock side to side to further massage your back.

This stretch will relieve pressure on your hips and back. It’s a relaxing stretch that is ideal before bedtime.

Important Sleeping Ideas

Seniors who have problems sleeping should also incorporate these ideas into the bedtime routing:

  1. Taking a magnesium supplement (considered as nature’s tranquilizer) will further help to promote better quality sleep.

     2. Have a fixed bedtime and wake-up routine. This should give you all the sleep benefits you’re after.

      3. When you wake up in the morning, use the washroom, get a drink of water, and try these stretches:


Thanks for reading our complete guide to stretching for seniors!  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

*Bonus Video

This is Russ Baker, a friend of ours who is able to do amazing things with just a Swiss ball.  Don’t try this at home, but it’s pretty amazing!  He’s a senior as well…

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