One of the most recognized telltale signs of aging is slowing down, especially in older adults whose preferred recreations let them stay seated for long hours. A 12-month study of a flexing and stretching program for older adults proved that stretching allows for greater improvement of muscle and joint flexibility.
Published in the Journal of Gerontology, the findings also said that after participating in the stretching program, the older adults who took part in the study demonstrated positive changes in physical fitness and self-awareness about well being and ability to function well with minimal if no pain at all.
A good stretching regimen for older people, if integrated as a daily routine program can help maintain flexibility. The term refers to the ability of the muscles along with its ligaments and tendons, to stretch and lengthen as response to a person’s movement. Flexibility enables joints to move with ease through a broader range of motion.
However, it’s important to first consult one’s physician if the planned stretching exercises for the neck, back, arms, legs and hips and legs are appropriate, especially if the older adult is under medical supervision for a health disorder.
Neck mobility is important for maintaining posture throughout the day. Neck stretching starts by moving the chin toward your chest and then turning the head from side to side but letting each side position last for 15 seconds.
Shoulder mobility and upper arm stretching is important in maintaining independence in performing activities when one gets older, such as when stretching and reaching when getting dressed or taking items off a shelf or pantry.
Do shoulder and upper arm stretches by letting a towel drape down behind your back while holding one end over your head. Take old of the draping end and gently pull the material down until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and upper arms.
Proper chest stretches can help correct poor posture by loosening up chest muscles. Start by extending both arms sidewards with palms facing forward. Afterwards, reach back until a stretch is felt in the chest and arms. Another way to do this is to reach your back while against a wall and step forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and upper arms. However, it’s important not to overstretch when performing this exercise.
Older women tend to experience a lot of tension in their hips, which can gradually loosen by way of regular hip stretches. While lying on your back, stretch your hips by bringing a knee to the side, resting the foot on the opposite leg. While in that position, gently push down the knee until a stretch is felt in the hip.
Maintaining mobility in the lower back is also important in maintaining proper posture. To keep the lower back muscles flexible, lie back with knees bent and feet together and flat on the floor. Slowly lower both legs to one side by twisting until you feel a stretch in your torso. Hold for 15 seconds and then do the same motion on the other side.