Flexibility Exercises for Seniors are as important as Strengthening, Endurance & Balance.
If you have trouble touching your toes and your knees bend while doing so, stiffness prevents you from doing your routine tasks or tight hamstrings; then, you lag on the stretching and flexibility part of your exercise. Thats the reason for the decrease in your range of motion as well. Stretching exercises for over 50 play a very important role in full body flexibility.
Yes, regaining flexibility after 60 is still possible. Often people underestimate the value of flexibility during exercises for seniors. We miss warmups and cooldowns to start and finish the training early, forgetting that as we grow older, the warmups and cooldowns are even more critical before any types of exercises. So during all physical activities, our range of motion decreases resulting in insufficient balance to incapacitating aches and pains. For this reason, flexibility exercises are so important, and stretching is so helpful to our well-being.
Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
Flexibility and Stretching exercises for seniors have been shown in studies to help increase stability and, as a result, joint range of motion. This includes back stretching exercises for seniors as well.
- Improved flexibility can help you perform better in physical exercises.
- Reduce the odds of being injured.
- Assist the joints in achieving their maximum range of motion.
- Enable the muscles to perform at their best and give you a better posture.
- Stretching improves blood supply to the muscles as well.
Dos and Donts of Stretching
- Stretching for Seniors should be a part of any fitness program and after any exercise.
- Do not confuse stretching with warmup. Instead, it would be best if you did stretching only after a warmup or after your workout. Trying before warmup will lead to injury.
- Do not try to copy or match anyone while stretching. Everybody has limitations, and trying to reach someone can lead to injury if you are not as flexible.
- Stretch all your muscle pairs equally and symmetrically. For example, both calves, thighs, shoulders etc. or else there will be loss of balance putting more pressure on one side of your body. It becomes evident while doing balance exercises also.
- Bouncing is not associated with stretching, especially during old age. There is a significant chance of injury otherwise.
- Health benefits of static stretching increase with time. For example, each Stretch should be for 30 secs or more. It can increase further in the case of major muscles like glutes or hamstrings.
- When you stretch, you should feel the tension in that particular muscle group but not pain. If there is pain, that means you have already hurt your self.
- If you have already hurt your self, then do not stretch that muscle before consulting a doctor. That can be more harmful.
Importance of Full Body Flexibility for Seniors
There are various forms of exercise like HIIT, Aerobics, Zumba, weight lifting and boxing etc. Although these develop us in many ways, we miss an essential aspect, i.e. flexibility in our daily routine. We can reap the full benefits of exercise only if stretching is a part of our exercise routine. We should be stretching at least 2 or 3 times per week.
In old age, by the time all our exercises stop, our bodies become so stiff we lose all flexibility. Full body Flexibility is essential for agility, posture, and muscular control. It lowers the risk of injury and decreases muscle soreness too. Stretching and balancing is a must as a part of physical activity guidelines for seniors.
Stretching improves our overall form, expands the range of motion during daily tasks, allowing us to do exercises with more precision. We can activate more of our muscles, allowing us to gain muscle strength and increase metabolism.
Your muscles shorten with time if you don't do full body flexibility training, and everyday life gets hampered by a lack of flexibility and limited range of motion. Stretching increases blood flow to muscles also.
Importance of stretching in the Senior's Life
1. Improved Posture and Increased Confidence
Muscles get tight as a result of daily overuse, due to which stretching is necessary. Stretching can sound difficult when there are so many muscles, but not all muscles are created equal. It differs according to the functional capacity of a muscle group. For example, stretching of hip flexors, upper back Stretch or calf stretch are essential for improving posture.
Stretching is easy to overlook, but it leads to improved posture, fewer aches and pains, increased confidence, and a better attitude when performed regularly.
Flexibility exercise has a positive effect on both the body and mind. Stretching improves blood supply and circulation in the body and sends oxygen to the brain, resulting in a healthier mind and improved mood.
2. Welcomes Positivity
Simple Stretch has a lot of stress-relieving properties. Stretching right after waking up will help the mind and body get moving. Stretching loosens muscle tension, allowing them to relax while still increasing blood flow. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which gives you a feeling of relaxation. Gentle Stretches at night will also help you sleep better.
3. Increased Stamina
Stretching relieves muscle exhaustion and enhances blood supply by loosening muscles and tendons. Stretching will help you avoid muscle weakness by ensuring that oxygen is pumping freely into your blood and thereby increasing your stamina.
4. Lower Body Flexibility
Leg strengthening stretches for adults and the elderly, such as the inner thigh stretch, can enhance lower-body flexibility. Our hips and legs lose up to 30% of their flexibility as we get older.
This will make it impossible for us to operate independently. Stretching our legs regularly will help us regain years of flexibility.
Maintaining leg flexibility reduces the likelihood of strained muscles and swollen knees.
5. Flexibility and Age
The age-defying benefits of flexibility cannot be ignored. Stretching is an exercise that will help you become more relaxed.
Stretching is beneficial not only because of the potential effects on the physical skeleton but also because it assists in creating body awareness and balance. Stretching regularly can help to relieve joint pain and improve joint stability.
Power exercise and stretching, work together to keep the bones intact for longer.
6. Stretch-Strength Balance
Stretching is needed after both strength and endurance exercises as it relieves muscle pain and lets you feel more relaxed. Both strength and endurance do match in the healthiest bodies. This equilibrium has a considerable effect on injury reduction and general body health.
Flexibility, range of motion, stamina, and injury tolerance will enhance with good stretching and strength training.
7. Anxiety Control
Regular stretching keeps you physically comfortable with your body and away from emotional stress. The adverse effects of stress that is on your mental and physical well being can be reduced considerably with it. It clears your mind, relieves your mind of all negative energies and improves physical well being.
Osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are unavoidable consequences of becoming older. Stretching exercises, on the other hand, will help manage the discomfort that results. Stretching or moving these joints can be difficult and painful. It is advised to use a heat pack to warm up sore muscles before stretching and an ice pack to cool down muscles during exercise to reduce swelling.
9. Improved walking speed
Reduced flexibility causes a slew of issues. Slower walking speed, shorter strides, back pain, and a greater chance of falling are signs of this condition. According to studies, a stretching regimen for the front hip muscles will increase walking speed and step length. It will result in better walking function and provide more stability.
10. Reduced risk of falling
For older people(65 yrs and above), the danger of falling is a big concern. Every year, one of every three senior citizens experiences a crash. Regular bouts of stretching are helpful to equilibrium and flexibility and avoiding slips. The length of your steps is also critical in lowering the chance of dropping. Drop avoidance in older adults needs increased flexibility in the hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and increased hip joint strength.
11. Improvement in poor posture
Stretching regularly is an easy way to improve flexibility. It can help relax rigid ligaments, tendons, and muscles, allowing you to move more quickly. Supplementing senior strength training workouts with a stretching regimen will better balance out weakened muscles while also providing the advantages of stability to correct bad posture.
12. Increased blood flow and energy level
Dynamic stretching is a low-intensity stretching technique that involves moving the muscles. Dynamic stretches will lengthen your muscles while still increasing circulation and nutrient distribution across your body. As a consequence, the body's energy levels will increase. Increased energy is critical for preserving mobility, staying social, and overall stable ageing of older adults.
Don't get frustrated if you don't see results right away; being more agile requires time and commitment. Working on your flexibility regularly can yield benefits over time. Don't just rely on the physical part. To reach the target, you're looking for, flexibility necessitates concentration, mental power, and perseverance. Stick with it, keep stretching, and you'll eventually get the results you expect.