I have been stretching my body nearly every day of my life since I was a kid. Why? We have all been taught from an early age that stretching is ‘good for you’. But why is that?
When we stretch we are attempting to maintain our normal anatomical range of motion. Our muscles and joints become stiff and potentially painful when we do not move in the body’s desired full range of motion. Our bodies have been amazingly designed to move in many planes that allow us to maximize our ability to survive. Hunting, gathering, producing and progressing our existence moving forward. This requires many movements and a knowledgeable approach to flexibility exercises for seniors to accomplish what we need to do to ascertain these goals.
When I am asked what the best stretch exercises for seniors are I respond with what exactly do you wish to accomplish? Most will say improved walking and tolerance, play with my grandchildren, continue to work at a high level as I am still working a laborious job and need to provide for my immediate family. These major regions will include the spine, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
The Importance of Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
With every one of our programs we provide an abundance of stretching exercises for seniors for you to accomplish to maximize your body region’s full intended anatomical range of motion. Stretching exercises for senior flexibility can and should be done every day. Why? Senior stretching exercises do not require the typical energy system needed for high force output, nor does it need a day or two of rest to recover. The human body is designed to be able to move in a full active range of motion daily to maximize our function This includes grasping, squatting, reaching, elevating your arms and other tasks needed to live our best lives.
Every one or our physical therapy programs will instruct you on how to best participate in an optimal stretching and flexibility exercises for seniors program for your chosen region. Which is best for you? Well like anything in life, every person is different, thus I advise my patients to try an array of stretching exercises for flexibility focused on a particular region, and find the one or two that best fits you. You want to feel improved flexibility, have less stiffness with static and dynamic activities, and have less joint pain in your targeted region. These are very subjective feelings, so you’ll need to find the best stretches for you. I usually prescribe them to be done 7 days per week, or you may even complete just as needed, it’s totally up to you and how your body feels with your optimal frequency. When stretching tissues in the body, we can usually tolerate these to be done daily. Just listen to your body, and it will tell you the optimal frequency of participation with a routine body flexibility program.
Stretching Exercises for Seniors
Below are some of my favorite and most effective, gentle stretches for seniors for all of our program targeted areas:
So what do you need to do to follow your optimal stretching program? Utilize your new and upgraded range of motion in your daily activities. For example, you feel more flexible in your shoulders, use that range to put away dishes in the top cupboard, reach over for that seat belt buckle, use your arms to accomplish your daily grooming and feeding tasks. The end result is that you use your newfound range of motion in your day to day life. This is the ultimate key to success. Improving your overall daily functionality is the key affirmation that you are doing the right thing.
Every one of our physical therapy programs will address and specifically target these regions to help you maximize your functionality.
Dr. Marty Sanchez is a licensed Physical Therapist and owner of Desire Wellness where he, and his wife, Dr. Emily Sanchez have teamed up with other primary care providers to bring multiple resources for healing, improved vitality and mobility. Dr. Marty received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Azusa Pacific University in 2005. Follow Dr. Marty Sanchez on Facebook and LinkedIn