Stretching For Seniors Returning to Exercise

April 2, 2017
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Every sensible exerciser knows it – we have to stretch our body before exercising!  This is especially true for senior adults returning to a regular exercise program for many reasons. These include the fact that, among senior adults, their muscles have become shorter in length and lesser in elasticity while the joints have also become less flexible.

But don’t let these things prevent you from becoming physically active either! You just need to know and adopt a few important things about stretching so that you can get back into the groove.

Why Is Stretching a Must?  

Aging affects the structure of the muscles and bones. The effects include decreased range of motion in the joints, such as in the shoulders, hips and knees, and increased pain when the muscles and joints are stressed. These effects can be reduced with a combination of a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and sensible lifestyle habits but these will be experienced in some degree, nonetheless.

Stretching exercises relieve the tension in the joints and muscles, thus, making it easier to achieve a fuller range of motion. Your muscles are slowly warmed up and stretched out in preparation for more strenuous physical exercise. Your joints and bones will not be shocked, so to speak, when their capacities are challenged when you start running, swimming or cycling.

In fact, you should always perform stretching exercises before and after every physical exercise. Your body needs them more for warming up and cooling down, especially as you can’t take unnecessary risks with your health now.  You will also be asked to perform these exercises even in a commercial gym, like Snap Fitness, alongside your younger counterparts.  

What Are the Safety Tips for Stretching?

The following safety guidelines apply whether you’re performing static and dynamic stretching exercises.

  • Avoid bouncing and holding your breath when stretching.
  • Adopt gentle movements since stretching shouldn’t cause pain.
  • Never perform bending and turning exercises simultaneously because the risk of injury increases.
  • Avoid dropping your buttocks below your knees’ level during knee bends. Be sure to keep your feet apart and your back straight, as well as avoid locking your knees.  Otherwise, you’re placing too much stress on your knees, thus, increasing your risk for injury.  

Stretching exercises without strenuous physical exercise should ideally be done 2-3 days each week. Each stretching exercise can be done 3-5 times with each stretch held in position for 20-30 seconds. Your personal trainer at the gym can recommend the proper stretching program for your age, physical condition, and fitness goals, but be sure to be honest about these things.  

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