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Stretches For Older Adults

An older man and woman stretching outside

As we age, it is important to stay active. But at age 70, active is a whole different word and definition. You aren't in your 20's anymore, you are no longer trying to feel the burn or deadlift 200lbs. Active at the age of 70 means going on walks, water classes, or even cleaning the house.

Through working at a retirement home and living with my grandma, the one activity that I have found to always be affective, is stretching. Something so little and trivial can have such an amazing impact on our seniors. Here's some reasons you should start stretching, and later on read about some stretches you can do while seated! 

Why Is Stretching So Important?

Older adult male stretching

Stretching isn't just for athletes and gymnast While it is advertised to a lot of people who work out regularly, it's just as important for those over the age of 65. Stretching maintains healthy, strong, and flexible muscles. As we age, keeping  flexibility and a wide range of motion in our joints is crucial. Stretching has been linked to manage low back pain, reduce risk the of falling, improve poor posture, and increase energy levels. 

  • Manage Low Back Pain — Improving flexibility, range of motion, and elasticity through stretching can have a huge affect on your back. This will relieve stiffness and soreness throughout the day. 
  • Reduce Risk of Falling — Stretching can help you gain mobility, balance, and stability. Those three things are vital in preventing falls, especially in adults over the age of 65.  
  • Improve Poor Posture — Tight muscles has a huge affect on our posture. Many of us sit at a desk for a least some part of the day, and with tight muscles in our back, hips, and chest, it really has an affect on our posture. Stretching releases the tension in our muscles, therefore improving our posture. 
  • Increase Energy Levels  — Stretching makes us get up and get to moving! When we are moving, so is our blood flow. With increased blood flow, we are bound to become more energized throughout the day. 

5 Easy Chair Stretches 

  1. Neck StretchSitting up straight and tall, tilt you head to the right. Be sure to keep your left arm down and on your side. You should feel the stretch on the left side of your neck and upper back. Repeat on the other side, do a few repetitions to loosen this area.
  2. Shoulder Circles — While seated, bring your fingertips to your shoulders. Roll your shoulders in a circular motion for 10-15 cycles before reversing in the opposite direction. After 1 set of 10-15 repetitions, I really started to feel the blood moving! 
  3. Toe Taps — Sitting up straight, with your feet on the ground, bend your toes towards the ceiling and back down. Be sure to keep your heels on the ground as you are in motion. Do about 8-10 repetitions of this stretch to strengthen your ankle flection. 
  4. Knee Lifts — Sitting straight up with you feet on the ground, slowly lift you right leg, leading with the knee to your chest. (Don't worry if you cant bring it all the way up) Repeat on the left leg, complete 10 times each leg. This will work your quads, the largest muscle group in your body. 
  5. Sit and Reach — Sit with your back straight and knees together. Reach up with your right hand and feel your body stretch upwards. To loosen up the neck simultaneously, look up at your hand as you are reaching. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other hand. 
  6. miniTREAD®  (Bonus!) — The miniTREAD®  is also something great to do while seated. It's a great way to warm up your body before you start stretching and there are many other stretches than can be done while using it. 

If you are more of a visual person and need more guidance with stretching, here is a guided video to watch and follow along with! 

Time to Recap! 

Tan older adult doing crossover arm stretch

So, why are we stretching everyday? To manage low back pain, reduce risk of falling, improve poor posture and increase energy levels. All of these things are especially important for those that are over the age of 65 and want to continue to age well. 

Even if you can't stretch your body completely every day, something is better than nothing. For instance taking five minutes in the morning or even during a commercial break of your favorite show — something so little can make a world of difference. If you try some of the stretches or already have a stretch routine, feel free share in the comments below. We love to hear from our readers! 

Keep it MUVin'

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