Our bodies change as we get older, that’s a fact. We lose muscle mass, some flexibility, and this might make us give up on many physical activities. While we have to come to terms with the aging process, it doesn’t mean we should stop caring for our health!
The Benefits of Stretching
Static vs Dynamic Stretching
Best Stretches in your 20s
- Standing Quadriceps stretch. Stand and hold a wall near you. Grab your ankle and pull your foot back toward your bum so that your knee bends and your quads loosen up.
- Knees-to-chest. Lie down and bring your knees to your chest. Rock back and forth gently while making sure to keep your back snug against the ground.
- Medicine ball rotation. Hold a medicine ball at the abdominal level and keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees bent and your feet planted. Twist from side to side while exhaling after each twist
- Toe touches. Sit down with your legs together in front of you. Reach for your toes and hold for at least 30 seconds.
- Forward Lunge. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and then switch legs.
- Triceps Stretch. Point your elbow up towards the ceiling dropping your hand down your back and grab your elbow with the other arm. Keep it in place for 30 seconds and remember to alternate arms.
- Trapezius stretch. Slowly bend the head over to the left side as though trying to touch the ear to the shoulder. Place the left hand on the head and gently pull it down toward the shoulder for a deeper stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
- Neck stretch. Without shrugging your shoulders, slowly lean one ear towards your shoulder, then alternate to the other side. Drop your chin towards your chest, then look up to the ceiling. Look over your shoulders as well.
- Pectoralis stretch. Find a corner of the room and brace your forearms on the wall at shoulder level. Lean into the corner with hips squared.
Best Stretches in your 30s, 40s and 50s
- Thumb stretch. Extend your hand in front of you and keep your thumb pointed up. Fold your thumb into your palm and close the other fingers around it. Move your wrist up and down in this position while trying to get the most range of motion possible. Aim for 10 repetitions 3 x a day.
- Neck stretch. See above. This can be great if you end up sitting long hours at a computer and it’s affecting your posture.
- Toe touches. These are still great during this time of your life. Don’t neglect your hamstrings!
- Hip stretches. WebMD has a of hip flexor exercises to release tension in the hips, the part of our body that is most impacted when we sit all day.
- Lumbar rotation. Keeping our lumbar spine active and flexible is hard when we sit or hunch all day but it can help us avoid lower back pain.
- Lumbar flexion. Lay on your back and pull your knees to your chest. Wrap your arms around your knees, pulling them close to your body, and lift your head off the ground, pulling your chin toward your knee. This stretch will feel really good after sitting all day or after doing the above stretches. Hold for 30 seconds.
Best stretches for after retirement
- Yoga strap. Using a yoga strap or another kind of stretchy band to assist with stretching can be a great way to increase flexibility and maintain a healthy posture. These are some
- Yoga or chair yoga. Yoga stretches are especially who might have issues with balance, joint health, blood pressure, or anxiety. Doing these poses in a chair is a great way to stay safe and still experience the benefits of the stretches.
- Back stretch. Stand straight with hands on your hips. Gently arch backward and look up towards the ceiling. Be sure to lead with your head (think of a candy cane) rather than jerking in the lower back. Hold for 3 seconds and return to standing. This one is great for getting your blood pumping a bit too.
- Ankle rotation. Slowly warm up your ankles while sitting by rotating them. Ankles are essential for your balance as you age and can be impacted by arthritis. This simple stretch can help keep them strong.
- Seated hip stretch. as we age. Sit down and gently pull up one leg over the other by leaving one ankle resting on your thigh or knee. Let your hips relax and hold for 20-30 seconds before alternating.