Flexibility Stretches for Seniors

Flexibility stretches for seniors may aid in the prevention of injuries, especially in the legs and arms. Stretching regularly several times a week can significantly improve your flexibility.

We gradually lose our flexibility as we age due to prolonged periods of sitting or even standing. It is not hard to imaging how many hours every day that are spent in front of a TV or computer screen.

  1. Shoulder Stretch
  2. Torso Rotation
  3. Hamstring Stretch
  4. Quadricep Stretch
Watch my instructional video

Exercises like the shoulder stretch will not only improve your range of motion in the shoulder joint into flexion and adduction, but also improve the mobility of your elbow and wrist. The torso rotation exercises works on improving the mobility of your ribs and spine with gentle side to side stretches. Make sure to include some breathing with this exercise and maintain an upright posture with excessive force when turning. Hamstrings seem to be perpetually tight in seniors causing poor hip mobility and decreased posture. Sitting in a chair is a safe and easy way to improve hip and hamstring flexibility. Stretching our quadriceps is often overlooked by seniors. A seated quad stretch is not only easy but also very effective.

Exercise 1

Shoulder Stretches. Extend your hand out in front with palm up. Bend elbow and bring fingertips to shoulder. With your other hand, scoop up your elbow and gently lift toward the ceiling. Hold 15 seconds. Bring same arm across body and pull back with hand while performing wrist circles..

Exercise 2

Torso Rotation. Sitting in your chair, turn your torso to the right and look over your shoulder, bring your right arm over the back of your seat. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat for the other side.

Exercise 3

Seated Hamstring Stretch. Begin seated in your chair, scoot to the front edge. Extend one leg out fully and begin by bringing your toes toward your body. Place both hands on your thigh and slowly lean forward from the hips and try to reach your knee, calf or ankle. This stretch should feel good. Hold this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply. Repeat with the other leg for 30 seconds for a great lower body stretch.

Exercise 4

Seated Quadricep Stretch. Begin in a chair, sitting on the front edge. Turn to one side and bring your front knee to the floor. Slowly bring your toes back to the rear as far as possible. Sit tall in the chair, chest raised, chin up, breathe deeply. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then turn the opposite way and repeat with the other leg. 

Flexibility stretches for seniors are best performed after a good 5 to 10 minute warm up and limbering routine. Walk around your home and swing your arms while lifting up your knees into a marching pattern for a few minutes to increase your blood flow which will certainly warm up your muscles. With your muscles warmed up, you can safely begin a stretching routine involving your arms, torso and legs like the program presented here. All these exercises can be performed in a chair for convenience and safety.

Make sure to focus on your breathing while stretching to maximize the results of your stretch. Slow, deep breathing is always helpful to relax your muscles even more for a good stretch. I like breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, with my lips pursed a little bit to keep up the pressure in my lungs.

An upright posture should always be your goal with stretching. Feel your ribs elongating and you breathe and stretch your shoulders with his program. Avoid slouching or leaning back in your chair while stretching.

Flexibility stretches for seniors are a great way to keep your range of motion intact as we age. Stretching twice weekly is a good target to get the results you want. Stretches are best held for 20 to 30 seconds for best results.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other exercises or senior fitness content. You can leave your comments and suggestions on my About Page. Need personal help? Check out my new Academy. Exercise is really your magic pill to feel better and live longer. Remember to stay active, stay strong, and stay connected!

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.