Functional Flexibility for Seniors

We know that exercise is important for health and longevity. But do you know that flexibility is critical to your health also, especially as people age?

When you have a larger range of motion, you’re less likely to be injured while exercising or doing daily activities. Stretching will help your body to walk, lift, and bend with ease and it will even help you reduce pain and stress. So why not get started today?

Start warming up by walking outside or in place for 5 minutes. This will warm up your joints as you prepare to stretch. Next, begin with a simple stretching routine that you can do for 10-15 minutes daily, at least 3-4 days per week.

Make sure to include stretches that target the following body parts:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders and upper arms
  • Arms, chest, and shoulders
  • Back
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Ankles

Neck Side Stretch

A simple stretch to start with is the side stretch. It’s a great stretch to do in the morning. For the neck side stretch, sit tall in a chair and gently lean your head to one side and then to the other side. Then, rest your palm on the left side of your head and gently pull your head to the right. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Now, repeat the stretch on the other side.

You might have done stretches before, but make sure to look online, obtain a book or video from the library, or attend a local class to learn how to do the proper stretches correctly. Some television networks offer stretching and other exercise videos through local programming or through “on demand” programming.

Tips

Here are a few additional tips to help you as you begin to stretch:

  • Don’t lock your joints while stretching.
  • Avoid jerky movements when stretching and don’t force a stretch that feels painful.
  • Don’t hold your breath. Breathe as you stretch.
  • Move fluidly and gently, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds if possible.
  • Try a stretch a second time, reaching even further if you can do so without pain.
  • If you have had surgery, ask your physician before stretching.

The National Institute on Aging is just one of several organizations that provides internet-based information on exercising for seniors. Check out NIH’s Go4Life flexibility movements by clicking here.

If you have questions about an aging family member, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.