Maintaining Flexibility for Seniors by Stretching
For seniors, stretching is crucial to their general health and well-being. Our joints become less flexible as we age. Daily tasks like getting out of bed or getting up from a chair can become more challenging. While putting the car in reverse and pulling backwards, it can become more difficult to raise your arms upward or twist backwards to see over your shoulder.
Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ordinary aging-related declines in muscular strength and flexibility can all contribute to these changes.
Flexibility refers to a joint’s capacity to move through its full range of motion by the muscles and tendons lengthening in reaction to movement. Maintaining flexibility and reducing stiffness can be achieved by incorporating a decent stretching regimen into your daily exercise routine.
The neck, shoulders, chest, trunk, lower back, hips, legs and ankles are all key muscle-tendon groups that can benefit from flexibility exercises (stretches, yoga, or tai chi).
Why do we need to stretch?
When done correctly, stretching exercises can:
- Increase blood circulation
- Increase muscular control and improve balance and coordination
- Increase range of motion in joints
- Improve posture
- Release muscle tension and discomfort and reduce chance of injury
When breathing techniques are used alongside the stretches, stretching can also aid in stress relief and mental calmness. When healing from an accident or surgery, these exercises can be incorporated into a general exercise program or tailored to a particular joint.
Before beginning a stretching regimen, it’s vital to get assistance from a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, to make sure the stretches are appropriate for you and that you are completing them properly.
What different kinds of stretches are there?
Exercises for stretching can be dynamic, static, ballistic, PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation), passive, or helped by an active-assisted.
Static and dynamic stretching are the two most used types. Let’s investigate what these entail.
This method entails holding joints and muscles in specific positions for an extended period of time (usually 15-30 seconds). Stretches that are static help the muscle to lengthen and relax.
Static stretches, performed as part of your cool-down after exercise, will aid in easing any muscle tension brought on by the workout and improve blood flow, which will aid in healing.
You should perform each stretch for a total of 60 seconds for best results. Therefore, it is advised to perform a stretch three times if you can hold it for 15 seconds.
The term “dynamic stretching” refers to motions that are performed frequently in a short amount of time, allowing your muscles to gradually relax (for example, calf raises with stretch before walking or jogging).
Warming up the muscles and getting them ready for harder activities are both wonderful goals of dynamic stretching. Such stretches should ideally be done for 5 to 10 minutes as part of your warm-up program.
We only hold the stretch for a brief period of time during each repetition of a dynamic stretch. Aim for 8–12 repetitions, with 30–60 seconds spent on each location.
What does a physical therapist do?
You must start out cautiously if you are new to regular stretching. Your body requires some time to adjust to the stretches you are doing, just like it does with other types of exercise.
Additionally, you must have a firm grasp of proper form and technique to avoid injury. Before starting any stretching activities, it is advised that you speak with a physiotherapist or other allied health professional because improper stretching techniques might result in serious harm.
It will be less likely for you to get an injury from poor technique if you perform the exercises as directed first under the guidance of a professional and subsequently on your own. It is preferable to get an assessment done then receive an exercise program that is personalized to your needs if you have an ongoing medical condition, joint discomfort or arthritis, or if you have had a joint replacement.
Things to keep in mind when stretching
- Breathe normally when doing stretches. In fact, while you stretch, taking a deep breath and gently exhaling will help.
- Avoid bouncing when you stretch to reduce your risk of injury. Strive for calm, fluid motions.
- Never stretch a muscle to the point of pain; just until you feel tension in the muscle.
- Always move around for 5 to 10 minutes, such as taking a walk to warm up before stretching.
REACH’s 2 STEP APPROACH TO RECOVERY THERAPY
RELAX – RESTORE – RECHARGE
Step 1: Identify Your Problem Areas
- It all starts with your Mobility Risk Factor Assessment called .
- This helps us identify the root cause of your current problem areas due to:
– Life’s Daily Wear & Tear
– Your Aches/Pain
– Muscle Imbalances & Weakness
– Flexibility/Mobility Limitations
– Posture Issues
- A Mobility Risk Factor Assessment is a MUST before starting any Stretch & Recovery Therapy Program.
Step 2: Targeted Recovery Therapy
- Your Mobility Risk Factor Assessment helps us create a Personalized Recovery Therapy Plan that targets your problem areas which will Shorten your Recovery Time.
- Each of our Stretch & Recovery sessions are a balanced blend of Corrective Stretch, Percussion, Compression, CBD and Heat
- Risk Factor Re-Assessments:
– Suggested every 30-60 days
– See your improvements
– Realize the benefits of Stretch & Recovery