Stretching is an important part of any fitness program. It reduces muscle tension, increases range-of-motion, enhances muscular coordination, and increases circulation of the blood to various parts of the body. As we age, it can become harder to stretch and stay flexible. Business Insider recently featured 12 stretches that can be done at any age. These stretches were recommended by Marilyn Moffat, a professor of Physical Therapy at New York University and the author of the book Age Defying Fitness.
Don’t do these stretches if they make you feel uncomfortable or in pain. Consult a physical therapist or your primary healthcare physician before starting this stretching routine.
Before you begin: maintain good posture while performing these stretches. Keep your chin back and down so your neck is aligned with the rest of your spine.
- Neck rotation – slowly turn your head to the right and hold. Face forward and repeat the stretch on the left.
- Neck tilt – tilt your neck to the right and drape your right arm over your head and your left ear. Pull your left arm down toward the floor, either by holding onto the chair or just pulling down. Switch sides and repeat.
- Trunk rotation – cross your arms over your chest. Look over your shoulder with your arms crossed and rotate to the right. Face forward and repeat the movement on the left. Keep your posture solid while rotating and hold for 30 to 60 seconds on each side.
- Hyperextension – for this stretch you are going to lean forward slightly with your hands by your sides. A little bend is all you need.
- Trunk lateral flexion – bend to the side while reaching the opposite side’s hand diagonally above your head. Repeat on the other side. This move will give the sides of your torso a great stretch.
- Fold over – bend over in your chair and reach down as far as you can. Make sure your neck is in a safe position and does not hurt.
- Back scratch – without hunching over, try to reach your hands toward each other with one hand going over your shoulder and one hand going behind your back. Be sure the top palm faces toward the body while the bottom palm faces out.
- Quad stretch – this classic stretch is easy to do. While standing, grab the top of your foot and bend your knee so it is extending straight toward the floor. Try to keep your knees close together to maintain balance or hold onto a solid surface, such as a chair.
- Heel chord – stand facing a wall. Keeping your big toe on the wall and both feet firmly planted, bend your front knee toward the wall. You should feel this stretch in your back leg’s muscles, especially the calf. Switch legs and repeat.
Editor’s note: for stretches 10 – 12 you’ll want to grab a mat. We recommend one of our CanDo® yoga mats. You can buy one directly through us or from one of our dealers.
- Hip flexor stretch – lie down on your mat. Keep one leg straight while you bring the opposite knee into your chest. Switch legs and repeat.
- Leg extension – plant one foot on the floor. Extend the other leg into the air. Try getting as close as you can to achieving a 90-degree angle. Try using one of our CanDo® Stretch Straps to get your leg up even higher.
- Piriformis stretch – keep your neck and back firmly on the ground. Fold your right ankle over the left thigh right above the knee. If this stretch is too intense, bring the uncrossed leg out farther. Switch legs and repeat.
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