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12 Best Upper Body Stretches For Seniors And The Elderly

Maintain Your Motion

It is vital to maintain shoulder range of motion as we age. Senior and elderly upper body stretches can help. So much of our daily activities rely on reaching, lifting and pushing motions.

These motions are more effective and easier when we are able to use more of our available movement in our upper back, shoulders, elbows and hands. For example, in upper body dressing and grooming.

This includes putting on shirts, bras, jackets, hats and also combing or fixing your hair. When these shirts and jackets have buttons, zippers, snaps and other fasteners, good shoulder, elbow and hand function is extremely important. Have you ever tried to tie your shoe when your hands were freezing cold?

Stretching  for seniors and the elderly can greatly help back pain

Let’s face it. We sit a lot during the day and our back gets very tight. Limbering and elderly upper body stretches can greatly increase our flexibility and go a long way to reduce our risk of back pain.

Stretching can improve your posture

Our entire body is held together by connective tissue. When we pull on it here, it pulls the other parts with it. Increasing our flexibility with elderly  upper body stretches will help improve our standing and sitting posture.

Stretching is beneficial for arthritis

Movement is essential for our wellbeing and happiness. As we age, we are more susceptible to joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. That is why it is so important to maintain a flexible body. Joints are nourished by movement which helps distribute the synovial fluid and micro nutrients. 

Try one or two stretches for each body region

We have many stretches for increasing our  flexibility below. Begin slowly with one or two of these exercise to start your exercise program. It is always better to get in the habit of stretching and limbering up our body before an exercise class

Upper Body Flexibility Exercises

FIRST: Make sure to sign up for my Eldergym® Senior Fitness Newsletter to make the most of these exercises and receive my free 4 week exercise program!

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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!

4.Neck Rotation

  • Improve the range of motion in our neck with these neck stretches.
  • Help stretch the upper back and scapular muscles.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Chest Stretch

  • Stretches the chest and shoulders with these chest exercises.
  • Improves posture and lung functioning.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Triceps Stretch

  • Stretches the shoulder and triceps with these stretches before exercise.
  • Improves the mobility of your upper arm and shoulder.

11. 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.

12. 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.