10 Amazing Stretching Exercises For Elderly Citizens
Aging is inevitable, but aging gracefully is an art. It involves the delicate balance of physical and mental health. To maintain well-being, seniors must prioritize their physical health. As they age, stretching exercises can benefit their joints, muscles, flexibility, and strength.
As we age, our lifestyles change, and we tend to become more sedentary. In the course of time, our joints and muscles lose their flexibility and suppleness, leading to tightness in the hips and hamstrings. The accumulated muscle tension makes moving the knees and hips more challenging.
Here are ten gentle stretches that your elderly loved one can practice at home quickly. Since most elderly people find it challenging to do strenuous exercises, stretching is the best physical activity to:
- Improve flexibility
- Gain muscle control
- Prevent muscle pain
- Boost blood circulation
- Improve mental health
- Improve the quality of life
- Prevent inflammation of joints
- Prevent edema in the feet and ankles
Let’s move on to the stretching exercises for each body part.
Stretching Exercises Seniors Can Do Anytime & Anywhere
Exercise 1: Stretches For Your Neck
- Take a seat in a chair, ensuring that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Pull back your shoulders and maintain a straight posture.
- Position your left hand beneath your left thigh
- Ensure you firmly grasp the chair seat to maintain your balance.
- Place your right hand on the right side of your head.
- Gently tilt your neck towards the right side and press with your right hand to stretch your neck muscles.
- Keep your neck straight while stretching.
- Do not bend your head or chin.
- Hold the pose for thirty seconds and feel the stretch.
- Relax and repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Do this five times.
Exercise No. 2: Stretches For Triceps
- Maintain a proper sitting posture on the chair.
- Place your feet on the floor and maintain a straight back.
- Slowly lift your right hand above your head and bend your elbow.
- Now, attempt reaching back and touching the back of your neck or head with your right palm.
- Now apply some gently pressure on your right elbow using your free hand and stretch the right triceps.
- Maintain the pose for ten seconds and feel the stretch.
- Repeat the same stretch with the next arm.
- Repeat the exercise five times for each arm.
Exercise No.3 Hamstring Stretch
- Seat yourself on a flat surface and stretch out your right leg.
- Gradually lean forward and try reaching for your ankle. It is okay if you are able to go only as far as your thigh or knee.
- Do not overstretch yourself. You can stop stretching when you feel you are hyper-extending your hamstring.
- Hold the pose for ten seconds and gently return to your starting position.
- Repeat the exercise with the alternate leg.
Exercise 4: Side Stretch
- Sit on a straight-backed chair, keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground.
- Straighten your shoulders and focus on what lies ahead.
- Raise your right hand.
- Bend your body to the left.
- Hold this position for five to ten seconds and relax.
- Next, raise your left hand and bend your body to the right.
- Hold the position for five to ten minutes and relax.
- Repeat the exercises alternating your hands five times per side.
Exercise 5: Calf Stretch
- Choose a strong chair and stand behind it
- You can grip the backrest for support.
- Stand with your legs spread apart,
- Stand tall with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Keep your back straight and hold your posture.
- Now put your right leg behind you and flex your left knee.
- Stretch the calf muscle on your right leg by moving your body forward.
- Ensure your feet are flat on the floor when you do this stretch.
- Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and relax.
- Repeat with the left leg.
Exercise 6: Toe Stretch
- Position yourself behind a chair.
- Grip the backrest and stand with your legs apart.
- Keep your feet steady on the floor.
- Pull back your shoulders and maintain a good posture.
- Slowly lift your toes off the floor and hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
- Slowly bring your feet back to the floor and relax.
- Repeat the exercise ten to fifteen times.
Exercise 7: Seated Knee to Chest
- Sit comfortably in your chair.
- Bring up your right knee to your chest (or as high as your can) and hold it tight.
- Be gentle and take your time to bring your knee up.
- Hold the pose for 10 seconds or for 30 seconds maximum when you feel a stretching sensation.
- Slowly bring your leg back to the floor.
- Repeat the same exercise with your left leg.
Exercise 8: Chair Lunge
- Take a couple of chairs.
- Place them about one meter apart from each other.
- Keep them facing the same direction.
- Stand a few feet in front of one chair.
- Rest your shin on the seat of the chair behind you.
- Keep your knee extended just beyond the front edge of the chair.
- Let your foot dangle over the back.
- Gradually bend your knee and push your hips forward.
- You should be able to feel a stretch in the front of your thigh and hip.
- Hold the position for at least 10 to 30 seconds and relax.
- Repeat the exercise with your other leg.
- Alternate the sides to increase your hip and quad flexibility.
Exercise 9: Overhead Side Stretch
- Choose a tall chair for this exercise.
- Sit on the chair with feet, hips, toes, and knees in a forward position.
- Raise your arms above your head.
- You can interlock your fingers for better stability.
- Keep your torso aligned and lean toward your right.
- Lean as much as you can and hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
- Bring your hands down and repeat the same exercise on your left side.
Exercise 10: Standing Spine Twist
- Stand tall and keep your legs apart.
- Hold out your arms straight in front of you.
- Cross your forearms to align your biceps into a perfect 90-degree parallel posture.
- Next, twist your upper body to the right side, turning your head as you go.
- Remember to keep your lower body steady.
- Maintain the posture for thirty seconds and slowly assume the normal position.
- Always ensure that your head aligns with the direction of the movement.
- Repeat the exercise on the left side of your body.
Precautionary Guidelines to Follow During Your Stretching Exercise Routine
- Always consult with your doctor before commencing any exercise.
- Avoid strenuous static and ballistic movements that may cause pain.
- Seek assistance from a physiotherapist if you are arthritic or have osteoporosis.
- Commence your routine with a few repetitions and increase the number slowly.
- Use a chair, sofa, bed, or antislip mat to ensure your safety while exercising.
- Always use gentle movements that are within your range of comfort.
- Do not exercise if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Aging is inevitable, but everyone can age gracefully as long as they maintain their physical well-being.
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