Many seniors resent being stereotyped as homebodies, they want to be out and about, but are just worried of the potential of falling. Establishing a new stretching routine takes patience and time, but can be rewarding when it’s often all that stands between you sitting at home or enjoying the activities you love most. Enlist these engaging stretching tips and experience more of what you love doing.
Stretch Up, Out and Down to Improve Circulation
Before building strength and flexibility, proper circulatory flow is a must to keep ligaments and tendons supple. Stretching arms outward from the body, up over the head and down toward the ground helps nutrients and oxygenated blood to flow to tissues and muscles. You can even do this while sitting down at first.
Try incorporating what’s known as the Sun Salutation routine in yoga practice. Regular practice has been shown to increase circulation and overall muscle strength. The Sun Salutation is a series of 9 to 23 positions that create a circuit of flowing stretches over your head, behind your neck, bending forward and then down on the ground. You’ll get a full-body stretch to help increase flexibility and be left feeling calm and revitalized all at once. Yoga Journal’s online forum is a great resource to follow along with until you learn the flow of the Sun Salutation.
Make Daily Activities Part of Your Stretching and Flexibility Routine
The Harvard School of Public Health says that strength training at least two times per week also boosts cardiovascular health as well. Common daily activities with full ranges of motion include the following:
- Bending at the knees into the garden for light digging and hoeing
- Bending forward to the ground and then at the knees to lift groceries upward
These are two activities that improve coordination and build muscle resistance to improve strength.
Stretch to Improve Balance
Getting your balance routine down builds confidence. It prevents falls and benefits the brain. In a safe, flat environment, try the following:
- With hands on hips, bring one foot up to opposite knee. Next, rotate hip to turn leg outward and create a triangle. Lower leg and repeat on opposite side.
- Place hands on hips or stretch arms outward away from the body. Lift one leg outward away from the body while bending on planted foot from the knee. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Remember: When establishing a new exercise and strength training routine, correct form is everything. To make sure you’re moving through the ideal form, watch a video or tutorial. Laser Spine Institute has developed easy to follow online videos that are sure to take you through every step of your new routine safely and effectively.
Stretch With a Partner to Gain Maximum Benefit
Not only is it safe and fun to exercise with a partner, exercise physiologists and behavioral specialists say it keeps you motivated and improves your ability to learn new things, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Having a partner can help you complete a new stretch and make sure you’re both staying in correct form.