It’s a fact of life that, as we age, our bodies can no longer do the things that we used to do on a regular basis. But it is also a fact that you can hold back the cruel hands of time (at least a little) with routine exercises that will help you stay limber and agile.
As you become a senior citizen, it may not be feasible (or even possible) to visit a gym regularly and exercise. However, every senior should consider the benefits of stretching as a way of keeping your body loose and agile. If you do some of these exercises regularly, then you can keep your body in good shape and prevent serious injuries from falls, bumps, and just moving the wrong way and throwing things out of whack.
Static stretches vs. dynamic stretches
Static stretches are when you move one of your limbs (such as your right arm, for instance) into a stretched position and hold that pose for a period of time (30-60 seconds is usually a good range). Dynamic stretches involve mimicking a movement repeatedly, such as leaning over, returning to a normal position, and then starting over.
Don’t try to bounce your arm when you are doing these types of stretches and also don’t overdo it until you feel the muscles pulling or tearing. Instead, just hold the position for the time period and then move back into place and repeat with the other arm or a leg.
Some of these stretches can include:
– Moving your neck from side-to-side
– Standing up and arching your back and holding it as if you just got out of bed or have been sitting for a long time
– Placing your arms behind your back and then slowly bending forward, thus stretching your shoulder muscles and your back muscles at the same time
– Raising your leg so that you can then grab and hold your ankle in the air (think of this as standing like a flamingo with one leg raised and bent, only you grab your ankle and hold it in place).
All of these can be a great way to start the day or can also help you relax more just before bed. As your mobility decreases, don’t be afraid to do these exercises (as much as possible) while sitting to prevent falls that can seriously injure you. Also, be sure to have a chair or similar steadying furniture nearby so you can hold on if you need to as you get into the proper position.