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Stretching exercises for seniors are an easy, low-impact way for older adults to incorporate movement into their daily routine and to work on improving their balance. Stretching for just a few minutes a day can make a big difference in how you feel both physically and mentally. When you stretch, remember to wear tennis shoes with grippy soles for balance and elderly clothing such as men’s elastic waist pants to give you full range of motion.
Without further ado, here are eight easy stretching exercises for seniors:
Overhead Side Stretch
Begin in a standing position with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Straighten your spine and stand as tall as possible. You can also do this sitting if that’s more comfortable for you. Interlace your fingers and raise your hands above your head as far as you can. Lean over to the right and hold for 10-30 seconds. Return to center and then repeat this on the other side.
Stand or sit in the same position as before, with your spine straight and strong. Raise your right arm to chest or shoulder height, however high you get it. Slowly bring it across your chest so that it rests on your chest. Grip right below the elbow with your opposite hand and gently hold the arm in place for 10-30 seconds. Drop your arms and repeat on the other side.
Once again, stand or sit in the same position as the first exercise. Raise both of your arms and bend your right elbow so that your hand falls behind your head. Grip your right elbow in your left hand and gently tug on your right arm until you feel the stretch in your tricep. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
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Chest and Back Stretch
Like the previous stretches, this one can be performed either standing or seated. If you want to do it while seated, you’ll need a sturdy stool or ottoman that doesn’t have a back. To stretch your back, interlace your fingers and raise your arms in front of you. Press through your hands until you feel the stretch in your muscles. Hold for 10-30 seconds and then drop your hands. To stretch your chest, interlace your fingers behind your back and raise your arms as far as they will go. Hold for another 10-30 seconds and then drop your arms again.
This stretch requires standing on one leg, so don’t do it if your balance isn’t great! You can grab onto a table, counter or sturdy chair if you need a little support. Bend your right leg at the knees and bring your heel up towards your booty. While holding onto the table with your left hand, grab your foot in your right hand and gently pull on the leg until you feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold for 10-30 seconds and then release the leg slowly. Repeat on the other side.
Begin this stretch by standing upright. Place your right leg in front of you and ensure that your stance is strong. Lean over your right leg, putting enough weight into it that you feel the stretch. If you want to deepen the stretch, then grab onto the leg gently. Hold for 10-30 seconds and then switch legs and repeat on the other side. You can also do this exercise sitting down by straightening one leg in front of you and keeping the other one bent, with the foot planted firmly on the ground.
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Place a cushioned exercise mat on the floor and lie down on it on your back. Bend your right knee and bring it as far into your chest as possible. Grab onto the leg and gently pull on it. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds. Release the leg and gently lower it back to the ground. Bend your left leg, bring it towards your chest and repeat the stretch on the other side.
You will also need an exercise mat on the floor for this stretch. Kneel on the mat and then place your hands far enough in front of you that your body forms a tabletop. Gently arch your spine and press your belly towards the floor. Then, reverse the motion and arch your back towards the ceiling. Repeat this multiple times, moving slowly enough that you feel the stretch.
If you don’t have any men’s or women’s adaptive clothing that you can wear while you stretch, then be sure to shop our wide selection of garments to find exactly what you need.