Flexibility and mobility are two of the essential abilities that are crucial to people as they age. When some restrictions are natural as you age, there are ways to improve your physicality to ensure overall health and wellness well into your later years.
Despite popular assumptions, rigorous exercise is not paramount to function. Taking the time every morning to practice basic stretches is enough to ensure flexibility. Even five minutes per day doing the correct stretches can positively affect your life.
1. Doorway Chest Stretch
Poor posture is one of the leading causes of tightness in the shoulders and chest. Daily chest-opening stretches can encourage proper posture, lead to better breathing, and prevent tightness.
The doorway chest stretch works the anterior deltoid, biceps, and chest. You want to stand in the middle of an open doorway, placing your forearms against each side of the frame. Then, lean forward from the door, stretching your chest and shoulders. Lean as far forward as you comfortably can and hold the position for 30 seconds.
2. Forward Fold
Do you spend too much time sitting at a desk? If so, the forward fold is for you. The stretch works the shoulders, low back, chest, and hamstrings. It is a full-body experience.
With your feet hip-width apart, and your toes pointing forward, interlace your fingers behind you. Bend at the waist, maintaining a flat back and keeping your weight in your heels. As your hips shift backward, let gravity pull you forward and pull your arms above your head. Hold for 30 seconds.
3. Runner's Stretch
Tight hamstrings often lead to lower back pain. People who sit for long periods typically have tighter hamstrings and hip flexors. The runner's stretch works the low back, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.
Again, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with one foot. Place your hands on the ground on either side of the forward foot. Lower your hips until you feel a stretch in the back hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Straighten the front leg and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Bound Angle
Hip opening stretches are excellent exercises for men and women. These exercises help decrease tension in the muscles and hips inside the thighs. The bound angle stretch works the hip flexors, adductors, and glutes.
Sit on the floor and touch the soles of your feet together. Keep your back straight. With your hands on your feet, lengthen your spine by leaning forward. You should not be in pain. Pain suggests you are overstretching. Hold a comfortable position for 30 seconds.
5. Seated Back Twist
Spinal twists can increase mobility and relieve back pain. However, the seated back twist can be dangerous for people with spinal or disk problems, so speak to your doctor before doing this stretch.
The seated back twist uses the glutes, erector spinae, and low back muscles. You want to sit on the floor with one leg over the other. The knee of the top leg should make a mountain peak with the sole of the foot flat on the floor. Twist your shoulders toward and past the overlapping leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Stretching is vital to maintaining flexibility and mobility as your age. Taking five minutes to do the above stretches every day will help relieve pain and maintain movement.