As we get older, flexibility becomes even more crucial as it helps us increase our range of motion to accomplish everyday tasks. Stretching exercises are great for seniors as daily stretching can help you to become more flexible and athletic. They can also lower the amount of energy you need to move and prevent injury.
Tips for Effective Stretching:
- Warm up before stretching. Your muscles need to be warmed up a little before stretching, so start out with a quick walk or lifting some light weights.
- Take your time. Ease into each stretch and don’t rush. Stretching shouldn’t be painful, so a sharp pain means you’re stretching too far. If you’re new to stretching, it’s especially important to take your time and remember that it will take regular, consistent stretching for your muscles to loosen up.
- Relax and breathe. You shouldn’t be holding your breath while stretching, so breathe in and carefully push yourself a little farther with each breath.
- Take note of your spine. Pay attention to the position of your spine and don’t let it curve too far.
- No bouncing. Bouncing into a stretch or to stretch farther can actually cause those muscles to tighten instead of loosen. Use slow, steady movements instead of jerking motions like bouncing.
- Hold that stretch. Hold each position for at least 30 seconds to give your muscles time to elongate. Breathe, repeat, and try to stretch a little farther the next time.
If you’re already exercising regularly, make sure you’re taking time to stretch properly using the tips above. If you are starting a new workout routine, including stretching as part of your warmup and cool down is especially important as it will help prevent and relieve the soreness that may follow a workout. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen to discuss what the best plan for you personally is.