It’s a typical assumption that aging equates to decreased mobility and flexibility. While it’s true that health conditions including osteoarthritis affect many seniors, it’s also true that there are practical steps that can be taken to establish optimum strength and stamina during your later years.
One of the best techniques to improve mobility and flexibility is by incorporating simple stretching techniques in the everyday routine. Stretching leads to better posture and movement of joints, along with decreased muscle soreness and tension. It may also help reduce the danger of falls and other accidental injuries, and boosts circulation, balance, coordination and muscle control.
Always check with the senior’s medical professional before prior to any new exercise program, including stretching. Together with his or her approval, the following are wonderful stretches for senior loved ones:
- Slowly bring down the chin to the chest area, and move the head to one side for a count of 15; then repeat with the other side.
- Holding a towel in one hand, lift the arm straight up and hang the towel behind your back; then take hold of the bottom end of the towel with the other hand and stretch downward, holding for a count of 30.
- Lift both arms straight to the sides, with palms facing forward; slowly and gradually reach the arms straight back until a stretching sensation is felt, and hold for a count of 30.
- From a seated position, raise one foot up and move slowly from one side to another. Repeat using the other foot.
- While lying on your back, raise one leg, grab onto the back of the thigh, and gently draw it towards you while the other leg and hip remain on the floor. Take care not to pull on the knee. Repeat with the other leg.
- Lie on one side and bend the top leg so that your foot is behind you. Reach for the foot and draw it in the direction of the body until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat using the other leg.
- While lying on your back, bend both legs and place feet together and flat on the floor. With knees together, slowly lower both legs to one side, rotating the torso until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat on the other side.
Always keep the following in mind when undertaking these stretching exercises:
- Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly through the stretch.
- Use slow, precise movements.
- Don’t ever stretch to the point of feeling pain.
- Warm the muscles up before stretching with just a few minutes of physical movement, such as walking.
For more suggestions to help seniors improve mobility and range of motion, get in touch with the Topeka senior care team at Grace Home Care. We’re always readily available to provide motivation and support, to participate with seniors in exercise programs, and to provide transportation and accompaniment to the senior center or fitness center for exercise classes. To learn more about our services in Topeka and the surrounding area, contact us at 708-286-2273 and take the initial step towards a healthier life for a senior loved one!