Did you know daily tasks that require bending and reaching can be made easier just by stretching for a few minutes each day?
As we age, our muscles may become shorter and less elastic which can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the shoulders, hips and spine. When this is combined with natural effects of ageing such as changing bone and joint structure, simple daily tasks can become more painful and challenging.
I recommend stretching for just a couple of minutes, 4 to 5 times a week to help improve your flexibility and help make these daily tasks less painful.
As well as aiding in movement, a stretching routine can also relieve tension when combined with deep breathing exercises and good posture.
Three tips to improve your flexibility:
Try it yourself at home!
I also recommend trying these easy, try-at-home stretches:
In a seated position, bend one leg in and straighten the other leg out. Then reach your chest down towards the straight leg and hold for 20-30 seconds, before repeating on the other side.
Benefit: This stretch will help to increase the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back, as well as aiding in daily tasks such as tying shoe laces or picking up objects from the floor.
Tilt your head towards your shoulder and then gently use your hand to pull your head closer to your shoulder, holding for 20-30 seconds on each side.
Benefit: This stretch will improve your range of motion in your neck and upper back plus aid with daily tasks such as bending down low to look into cupboards and under beds.
Stand in the middle of a standard doorway and put your arms up against the doorway on either side of your body at shoulder height, maintaining a bent elbow position. Then, gently push the weight of your body forward through the doorway whilst resisting gently with your arms and hold for 20-30 seconds.
Benefit: This stretch can improve your posture as well as your lung function!
Tell us, how do you maintain your flexibility?
Authored by Nature’s Own Exercise Physiologist and Dietitian, Kate Save