Elderly Flexibility Exercises for Seniors

We need to stretch for our elderly flexibility

Stretching is an important part of elderly and seniors flexibility and will help offset the effects of normal decline in the flexibility of your joints, and help you remain active and independent.

As we age muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity.

Aging can affect the structure of your bones and muscles causing pain and decreased range of motion in the shoulders, spine and hips.

Stretching is an excellent way to relax and relieve tension if you incorporate breathing exercises and good posture in your stretching program.

It becomes very important for seniors to maintain range of motion and your ability to move all joints normally with activities during the day.

Types of stretching

Generally when we speak of stretching exercises we are talking about either static or dynamic stretching.

Static stretching  is the preferred method to create lasting lengthening of a muscle and surrounding tissue, which increases your available range of motion.

We also refer to static stretching as Low load prolonged stretch.

This is the application of a low load over a longer period of time.

To stretch in this manner, simply hold a position for 10 to 30 seconds or more.

Dynamic or oscillatory motions are used to increase available range of motion in a joint.

This can be used in addition to static stretching.

It is a form of stretching that is usually done after you are well warmed up and can tolerate a bouncy pull on your joints.

Static stretching is generally considered the safer choice.

Most older adults and seniors can safely perform stretches

The great thing about stretching is that it can be fun and done almost anytime and any place.My patients with upper body stiffness due to injury or surgery are encouraged to perform range of motion exercises with the affected body part at least three times per day.

  • Stretching can greatly help back pain.
  • Stretching can improve your posture
  • Stretching is beneficial for arthritis.

When and how much should I stretch?

Generally elderly and seniors stretching should be done 2 to 3 days per week, performing each stretch 3 to 5 times with a 20 to 30 second hold.

Try one or two stretches for each body region

If you would like to increase your flexibility, stretches should be performed 4 to 5 days per week.

Remember that it is important to warm-up before beginning an elderly flexibility exercise program.

The warm-up is an excellent place to use your stretching exercises.

elderly flexibility

General flexibility guidelines

  • Warm up before stretching
  • Don't bounce during stretching.
  • Don't hold your breath during a stretch.
  • Stretching should not cause pain, be gentle.
  • Don't combine turning and bending back exercises at the same time.To stretch the back relax in a chair by supporting yourself with your hands on your legs while leaning forward.
  • When performing knee bends, don't drop your buttock below the level of your knees.This places too much strain on your knees. Better to do shallow knee bends, keeping your feet apart and not locking the knees.Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
  • Avoid pressing the head backward during head rolls which can damage the vertebrae in your neck. Move the head gently from side to side, never too quickly.

Remember, elderly and seniors flexibility training will only show benefits if it is done regularly with the correct form and duration of stretch.

Upper Body Stretches

Improve your upper back, arm and neck mobility with these excellent stretching routines.

Start a upper body stretching program today by choosing 2 or 3 upper body stretching exercises to perform 3 times per week.

Most stretches can be held for 30 seconds.

Repeat 3 times. You can then choose 2 or 3 new stretches every week.

This will add greatly to the flexibility of your arms, chest and upper back.

So give it a try and see how much better you can reach to those high shelves!

  • Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch Shoulder stretches to increases your shoulder and scapular range of motion.Stretches your chest and shoulder.Will make it easier to reach to that high shelf in your kitchen.
  • Shoulder Rolls Improve the range of motion in your shoulder and upper back region with these stretching routines.Will assist in keeping your rib muscles flexible.Help in activities like reaching up to a high shelf or across the table at dinner.
  • Neck Side Stretch Improve the range of motion in your neck and upper back with these good stretching exercises.Helps with those everyday movements you need to do like looking under the bed for that other shoe!
  • Neck Rotation Improve the range of motion in our neck with these neck stretches.Help stretch the upper back and scapular muscles.
  • Shoulder Circles Improve the range of motion of your shoulders and upper back with these types of stretching.Helps increase flexibility in your chest and lungs.
  • Shoulder Stretch Helps stretch our shoulder, scapula and supporting muscles and joints.Improves our reaching ability especially across the body for these benefits of stretching.
  • Chest Stretch Stretches the chest and shoulders with these chest exercises.Improves posture and lung functioning.
  • Overhead Reach Increase the range of motion in your shoulder and upper back with these arm stretches.Help improve your ability to reach, as in getting a pan out of the cabinet or ice cream out of the freezer.
  • Reach Back Improve your ability to reach behind as in reaching back to hold on to an armrest before sitting down.Increase the range of motion of your shoulders and stretches your chest muscles with these arm exercises.
  • Tricep Stretch Stretches the shoulder and triceps with these stretches before exercise.Improves the mobility of your upper arm and shoulder.
  • Hand Stretch Increase the flexibility and range of motion of your hand and fingers with these hand exercises.Warms up your hand to prepare for the activity of the day.
  • Arm Raises Improves the range of motion of your shoulders with these muscle stretching exercises.Strengthens your arm for activities that require overhead reach like up to a shelf or pulling the light cord in the basement.

Lower Body Stretches

Increase your lower body, hip , knee and ankle mobility with these essential leg stretches. Start a lower body stretching program today also.

Pick 2 or 3 lower body stretches to perform at least 3 times per week. Generally hold the stretches for 30 seconds each.

You can then choose 2 or 3 new lower body stretches every week.

This will add greatly to the flexibility of your low back, hips, knees and ankles.

So give it a try and see how much better you can walk, bend down to pick up something and get out of a chair!

  • Seated Lifts Improve the range of motion in your hips and legs.Help stabilize  your low back and pelvis
  • Standing Quadricep Stretch Will improve your hip and knee range of motion with these.Can improve your standing posture by allowing you to stand up straighter.
  • Back Stretch Improves the range of motion in your spine and trunk.Increases your ability to bend and reach low or high.
  • Inner Thigh Stretch Improve your hip and thigh range of motion with exercises.Increase your functional ability in standing, walking and stepping.
  • Calf Stretch Targets the flexibility of your calf muscle and heel cord. .Increases your ability to straighten your knee
  • Hip Side Stretch This is a good stretch for the side hip area.Improve the range of motion of our hips.These also can help with balance.
  • Hip Rotation Stretch Increase the range of motion of your hips.Improve the functional use of your legs as in getting out of a car or stepping over the side of your bath tub.
  • Soleus Stretch Increases the flexibility of the deep calf muscle.Generally improves your lower body flexibility and functional use of your legs.
  • Ankle Circles Improve the range of motion of the ankle and foot.Can help with ankle swelling
  • Hamstring Stretch Increases your ability to lean forward and reach your feet.Improves the flexibility of your low back and legs.
  • Knee to Chest Stretches your knee and hip joints.Improves low back flexibility.
  • Ankle Stretch Helps maintain good ankle flexibility which will assist with walking and standing.Also helps with knee and hip stiffness.

Here is a great mobility exercise video from Eldergym Academy

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