Stretching for the Over-Fifties Crowd
Do you feel stiff when you get up in the morning? If so, join the crowd. As our bodies age, we need to do preventative stretching before and after active workouts. Learning to know your own body and what it needs is important to prevention of injury while engaging in any vigorous activity.
Simple stretching exercises come in different forms and are used for different purposes. But all stretching exercises are good for preventing muscle strain and other injury, for reducing muscle pain and stiffness and for increasing flexibility.
Dynamic Stretching: Take a position at the end of your range of motion and apply steady pressure to push the boundary. This both warms the muscle and increases flexibility and range of motion.
Static Stretching: Take a position that elongates muscles and hold it. This is very low risk for injury and is best done at the end of a cardio or strength training workout when muscles are already warm.
You can do simple body assessments to target proper stretching exercises uniquely for you.
Neck: Can you turn your head from side to side and up and down without pain? If not, you’ll need to find appropriate stretching exercises.
Shoulders: Can you intertwine your fingers behind your back? Can you raise your arms overhead without any pain?
Lower back and hamstrings: Can you bend forward at the waist evenly and without pain? Can you touch your shins or toes?
Hips: Can you tie your shoes without pain?
Calves and ankles: Can you rise up on tiptoes while barefoot without pain?
Once you’ve evaluated your personal stretching needs, you can search for stretches just right for you. Take a look at the Best Stretches for Senior Citizens found at the Livestrong Center. In general, when stretching, hold a given position only until you feel a slight pulling in the muscle. You should never hold a stretch to the point of pain. Static stretches are often held about thirty seconds, but listen to your body.
Remember, injuries and strains occur most often when a form of exercise is done with little warm up time and when overdone. It’s important to build skills intentionally and to build by slowly by increments. Whenever we begin a new exercise regime we should first discuss it with our regular physicians.
To find stretches to meet your particular needs check out the sites below.
Resources for Stretching Exercises Just Right for You