Improve Flexibility – 4 Standing Stretches

Part 3 of 4

flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safety tips, stretching dos, stretching donts, avoid injury, stretching repetitions, shoulder stretch, shoulder and upper arm raise, shoulder and upper arm stretch, upper body stretch, calf stretchThis 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 standing stretching exercises. (Photo: Michael Winokur)

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that we take for granted – like being able to bend over to put on our shoes and tie our shoelaces – that are the most frustrating when we have difficulty doing them.

Senior City is 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 some safe stretching techniques to avoid injury and improve flexibility through 4 standing stretches

4 Standing 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.

Shoulder Stretch

flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safety tips, stretching dos, stretching donts, avoid injury, stretching repetitions, shoulder stretch

This exercise to stretch your shoulder muscles will also help improve your posture.

  1. Stand back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and arms at shoulder height.
  2. Bend your elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling and touch the wall behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel sharp pain.
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbows, to point toward the floor and touch the wall again, if possible. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  6. Alternate pointing above head, then toward hips.
  7. Repeat at least 3-5 time.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Raise/Stretch

This exercise to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms will help make it easier to reach for your seatbelt. Talk to your doctor if you have shoulder problems before trying this stretch.

  • flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safety tips, stretching dos, stretching donts, avoid injury, stretching repetitions, shoulder stretch, shoulder and upper arm raise, shoulder and upper arm stretchStand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold one end of a towel in your right hand.
  • Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back. Keep your right arm in this position and continue holding on to the towel.
  • Reach behind your lower back and grasp the towel with your left hand.
  • To stretch your right shoulder, pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort in your right shoulder.
  • Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  • Reverse positions, and repeat at least 3-5 times.

Upper Body Stretch

This exercise increases the flexibility of your arms, chest, and shoulders, and will help you reach items on the upper shelves of your closet or kitchen cabinet.

  • flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safety tips, stretching dos, stretching donts, avoid injury, stretching repetitions, upper body stretchStand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean your body forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping your back straight, slowly walk your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head.
  • Hold your arms overhead for about 10-30 seconds.
  • Slowly walk your hands back down.
  • Repeat at least 3-5 time.
  • As you progress, the goal is to reach higher.

Calf Stretch

Because many people have tight calf muscles, it’s important to stretch them. 

  • flexibility, improve flexibility, seniors, 50 plus, older adults, mature adults, stretching safety tips, stretching dos, stretching donts, avoid injury, stretching repetitions, calf stretchStand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  • Step forward with right leg and bend right knee. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, bend left knee slightly until you feel a stretch in your left calf muscle. It shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. If you don’t feel a stretch, bend your right knee until you do.
  • Hold position for 10-30 seconds, and then return to starting position.
  • Repeat with left leg.
  • Continue alternating legs for at least 3-5 times on each leg.

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 Floor Stretches – Part 4 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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