As we get older, we lose flexibility
The strength and flexibility of the muscles and tendon decrease as you age. This is why you find it challenging to get out of bed, stand up from a chair, and bend down to lace your shoe. As you grow older, the muscles become rigid and thus the need for flexibility. Flexibility is needed to maintain a range of motion in the joint. Stretching is one of the important ways of keeping muscle flexible, strong, and healthy. It enhances the better movement of the joint and improves overall body posture.
Adults are prone to bending as they age one of the ways to control this unfavorable posture is enhancing flexibility through stretching. Stretching helps to relieve soreness and muscle tension. It reduces the risk of injury, increases circulation, improves muscular control aids coordination and balance.
A 12 months study for adults published in the Journal of Gerontology revealed the result of a stretch and flex program. Participants involved in this study developed positive changes in physical fitness, perceived functioning, self-efficacy, and general well-being.
How do you begin an effective stretching exercise?
Adults are advised to do an average of a 10 minutes stretch of major muscle group for at least 10 minutes daily, and this should be done a minimum of two times weekly. You can also register for cardiovascular or resistance training for adults. These training stretches major muscles and improves flexibility.
Which stretching exercise is good for adults?
Adults need stretching in some vital areas of the body that have more tendency to stiff as a result of non frequent movement. Some of these areas are; the neck, chest, ankle, hamstring, hip, and the lower back.
The neck stretch
Maintain mobility of the neck by stretching by bringing the chin down-up-right and left. This will improve posture and overall body activities.
Make the muscles of the chest flexible by spreading both arms to the side with your palms facing forward. Spread your hands back until you feel a stretch across your chest.
Ankle stiffness can be corrected by sitting in a chair and gently moving your foot to point up-down-side right and left. Do these positions repeatedly.
Improve hamstring flexibility by lying on your back and spread out one leg perpendicular to your body, then, gently pull the leg to yourself with the other leg and hip on the ground.
Older adults (especially women) at times have difficulties with tension in their hips. Stretch your hips by lying on your back, bringing one knee out to the side of your body and then rest your foot against your opposite leg and gently push down on the bent knee until you feel a stretch.
Lower back stretch
The lower back stretch helps you maintain mobility in the spine. Lay on your back, knees bent and feet together, lower your legs to one side, twisting your torso till you feel a stretch.
Stretching tips :
- Always take a deep breath and slowly exhale at intervals as you stretch.
- Do 5-10 minutes warm up before stretching
- Stretch in a stable position, don’t bounce and stretch; it may cause injury.
- Hold each stretch position for about 30 seconds to give the muscle sufficient relaxation time.
- Stretch to feel the tension in the muscle and not to feel pain.