“Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. To get out of bed … or sweep the floor, we need flexibility … Staying active and stretching regularly helps prevent this loss of mobility, which ensures independence as we age. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.”
When you got out of bed this morning, did your legs feel tight? Did you feel stiff and sore? If that was the case, what did you do? Did you think to yourself, “oh, I’m getting old?” Or did you think to move around and loosen up your joints, muscles and connective tissue and do some stretching exercises? Perhaps you did some stretching exercises before you got out of bed to loosen up your connective tissue. If so, then well done you. Your day is off to a great start!.
A friend recently told me that when they design their new kitchen, they are going to make it so that the things they use less frequently will go in the bottom drawers and top cupboards, in preparation for ageing. I told her to rethink her plan! As we move through our lives, we need to give ourselves more opportunities for stretching, so my suggestion is to store the things you use frequently (as long as they are not too heavy) in the bottom drawers and the top shelves. That way, you will be increasing your flexibility on an everyday basis without even having to think about it.
If we are not careful and do not continue to take every opportunity to stretch, our flexibility can deteriorate as we age, leading to lack of strength and making us more prone to limited movement and injury. Sitting for long periods of time without moving can contribute to loss of flexibility and fear of falling. This loss of flexibility can make the situation worse and certainly leads to loss of confidence. If we can’t reach whatever we need in the top cupboard, we may get the step ladder, which increases the risk of falling when you are losing strength. Preventative measures can go along way toward maintaining your health and quality of life.
Stretching Exercises For Seniors in Your Every Day Life
There are are a vast array of stretching exercises for seniors that you can do as part of your normal every day life, but it is important to consider your personal safety, as well as the safety of someone else. So, how about giving yourself a hug! Wrap both arms around your shoulders and hug. Now turn to one side, wait a few seconds and then turn in the other direction. (***Not sure what this instruction relating to turning to one side means Sue?) An even better stretching exercise is to open your arms out wide, lean forward with your head and chest and give someone else a hug – two for the price of one!
Consider how you might be able to stretch as you are sitting in your chair watching TV. As your favourite program comes on take the opportunity to stretch one leg out at a time to the theme music. Flex your toes up and hold, then point your toes out and hold. Once you bring that leg back, do the same with the other leg.
Here’s a novel idea – stretch out to reach for the remote control, or better still, get up out of your chair and reach for it!
Do you have pets at home? Here’s another opportunity for stretching. With knees slightly bent, bend over and stroke the cat or pat the dog. Keep the fish food on a shelf high above the fish tank. Leave your knitting at the back of a cupboard. Once you start doing this you will think of more and more opportunities to stretch.
Stretching Exercises for Seniors in Ageless Grace®
We have an exercise tool in Ageless Grace®, called Yo Baby! Seated in a chair, we use many simple stretching exercises. We use the chair, we use our imagination, we stretch out and Hi-5 each other. Being in a chair makes it safe, especially for people who find it difficult to stretch or don’t want to do Yoga. We may imagine we have a big elastic band in our hands and the person opposite has the other end and as one stretches out across the room, the other stretches back in the chair. Back and forth we go, practicing coordination as well as stretching!
There are so many incidental ways you can bring stretching exercises into your day. How imaginative can you be?