Have you noticed you are no longer as flexible as you used to be and the movements of your limbs and joints feel more restricted? If it is harder to do things like turning your neck to look behind you when driving or getting up from a low chair, you would probably benefit from incorporating stretches into your routine. Experts say daily stretching can make significant improvement in flexibility, the ability of the muscles and tendons to lengthen and stretch in response to movement, and allow a joint to move through its range of motion.
In addition, being more flexible improves balance and lowers the risk for a fall. Stretching increases the range of movement in the joints, improves posture and eases muscle tension and soreness as well as increases circulation. Along with dedicated stretching exercises, seniors can increase flexibility with yoga, Pilates, swimming, tai chi, dancing and massage.
A study on a 12-month stretch and flex program for older adults reported by the Journal of Gerontology found “participants demonstrated positive changes in areas like physical fitness, self-efficacy, perceived functioning, and well-being. They also experienced a decrease in pain.”
It is easy to do stretching exercises as they do not require special equipment and can be done anywhere. However, before beginning any new exercise routine including stretching, consult with your healthcare provider regarding your fitness level. Experts say you should warm up before stretching such as taking a walk around the block, which in itself helps to stretch muscles and tendons. Also, don’t stretch to the point of pain, only to the point of tension; or bounce when stretching. Typically hold the stretch for no more than 30 seconds.
At MorningStar of Happy Valley, we offer 61 private assisted living suites in a choice of spacious studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans. Our Reflections Neighborhood has 27 secure suites devoted to the personalized care of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. Residents enjoy a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community with resort-style amenities, care services and a range of programs including exercise classes tailored to seniors’ needs. Visit our website for more information about our beautiful assisted living homes.
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