Improve Flexibility – Stretching Safety Tips
Part 1 of 4
This woman’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. (Photo: Pinterest)
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.
Over the next 4 weeks, Senior City will be 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 safety tips and techniques to improve flexibility through stretching and avoid injury:
Muscle Stretching and Exercise Safety Tips – Do’s & Don’ts
- Consult your doctor, physiotherapist, or other healthcare expert before undertaking any new physical activity, including stretches. This is especially important if you have muscle or joint pain, or have had surgery on any body parts you plan on stretching.
- Warm up before beginning stretching exercises – for example, easy walking is a good warm-up. If endurance or strength exercises are part of your fitness regimen, then stretch after these activities…do not stretch before warming up or you may injure yourself.
- Breathe normally while holding a stretch.
- Stop if you experience pain. While a mild pulling feeling is normal when stretching, pain is not. Pain during or after the stretching activity or other physical exercise is a signal that you have gone too far and it’s time to stop. Next time, reduce the stretch/activity.
- Make slow, steady movements when stretching. Don’t jerk or bounce into a stretch position as this can cause your muscles to tighten and/or result in an injury.
- Keep your joints slightly bent while stretching. Straighten your arms and legs while stretching them, but not so far or for so long that they “lock” into position.
Stretching Repetition – Do’s
- 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.
More Improve Flexibility Through Stretching?
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.