Improve Flexibility – 4 Floor Stretches

Part 4 of 4

This man’s flexibility and stretching ability may be your end goal, but for beginner’s (of any age), it’s a great illustration of what not to attempt when you first start stretching exercises.

flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, back of leg stretch, thigh stretch, hip stretch, lower back stretch(Photo: CM Crossroads)

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that we take for granted – like being able to put our pants on one leg at a time – that are the most frustrating when we have difficulty doing them.

Over the past several weeks, Senior City has been sharing stretching tips and exercises to improve flexibility for mature or older adults and seniors.

As we age, keeping our flexibility through exercises and stretching should be an important part of our daily routine. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institute on Aging provides 4 stretching techniques to safely improve flexibility through 4 floor stretches

4 Floor Stretches to Improve Flexibility

Remember to do each stretching exercise 3-5 times per session. Slowly stretch into the desired position as far as possible without pain, then hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds; Relax and breathe in between each repetition. Slow gain without pain is the goal in stretching. As you become more flexible in between stretches and sessions, try reaching a bit farther, but don’t over-reach so that it hurts.

These 4 floor stretches below can be done while lying down, whether that be on the floor or a firm mattress. See at the bottom of this post, how to get down on the floor (and up again) to begin these exercises. 

Note: If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before trying any of these stretches.

1. Back of Leg Stretch

This exercise stretches the muscles in the back of your legs. 

  1. flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, back of leg stretchLie on your back with left knee bent and left foot flat on the floor.
  2. Raise right leg, keeping knee slightly bent.
  3. Reach up and grasp right leg with both hands. Keep head and shoulders flat on the floor.
  4. Gently pull right leg toward your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
  5. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3-5 times with left leg.

2. Thigh Stretch (Floor)

Another exercise that stretches your thigh muscles. If you have trouble getting down on the floor or back up again, try the Thigh Stretch (Standing).

  1. flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, thigh stretch floorLie on your side with legs straight and knees together.
  2. Rest your head on your arm.
  3. Bend top knee and reach back and grab the top of your foot. If you can’t reach your foot, loop a resistance band, belt, or towel over your foot and hold both ends.
  4. Gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your thigh.
  5. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3-5 times with your other leg.

3. Hip Stretch

This exercise will stretch your hip and inner thigh muscles. 

  1. flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, hip stretchLie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Slowly lower one knee as far as you comfortably can. Keep your feet close together and try not to move the other leg.
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Bring knee back up slowly.
  5. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times with your other leg

4. Lower Back Stretch

This exercise stretches the muscles of your lower back. 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both arms and shoulders flat on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower both legs to one side as far as you comfortably can.
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Bring legs back up slowly and repeat toward other side.
  5. Continue alternating sides for at least 3-5 times on each side.

 

About Floor Exercises

If you have trouble getting down on or up from the floor by yourself, try using the buddy system. Find someone who will be able to help you. Knowing how to use a chair to get down on the floor and get back up again also may be helpful.

Note: If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using these methods.

To Get Down on the Floor:

  1. flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, back of leg stretch, thigh stretch, hip stretch, lower back stretch, getting down on the floor, how to get down on the floorStand facing the seat of a sturdy chair.
  2. Put your hands on the seat, and lower yourself down on one knee.
  3. Bring the other knee down.
  4. Put your left hand on the floor. Leaning on your hand, slowly bring your left hip to the floor. Put your right hand on the floor next to your left hand to steady yourself, if needed.
  5. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  6. Straighten your legs.
  7. Bend your left elbow until your weight is resting on it. Using your right hand as needed for support, straighten your left arm. You should now be lying on your left side.
  8. Roll onto your back.

To Get Up from the Floor:

  1. flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safely, stretching tips, stretching dos, avoid injury, stretching repetition, 4 floor stretches, lying down stretches, back of leg stretch, thigh stretch, hip stretch, lower back stretch, getting up from floor, how to get up from the floorRoll onto your left side (you can reverse this and use your right side if you prefer).
  2. Place your right hand on the floor at about the level of your ribs and use it to push your shoulders off the floor.
  3. Use your left hand to help lift you up, as needed.
  4. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  5. Roll forward, onto your knees, leaning on your hands for support.
  6. Reach up and lean your hands on the seat of a sturdy chair.
  7. Lift one of your knees so that one leg is bent, foot flat on the floor.
  8. Leaning your hands on the seat of the chair for support, rise from this position.

More Improve Flexibility Through Stretching?

Improve Flexibility – Stretching Safety Tips – Part 1 of 4

Improve Flexibility – 4 Sitting Stretches – Part 2 of 4

Improve Flexibility – 4 Standing Stretches – Part 3 of 4

anita hamilton, senior city, copywriter, creative writer, research, hamilton ontario, sales, marketing, copy writing, elderly parents, local housing, local products, local servicesAbout The Author

Baby boomer Anita Hamilton lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her family and 3 mini-dachshund minions. She’s a lifelong voracious reader who enjoys researching and has extensive experience in sales, marketing and copy writing. Senior City was inspired when she had difficulty finding local housing, products and services online for her elderly parents.

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