Not knowing how to do stretching exercises the right way can lead to soreness along with unwillingness to attempt healthy stretching again. However, stretching the right way will keep you flexible, feeling good, and energized. You can’t afford to miss it!
It may seem like stretching and flexibility is a straightforward thing… and to a large extent it is — when you’re young.
However, as seniors we need to realize not only the importance of stretching, but also that if you get overly ambitious you’re likely to be sore tomorrow.
I think you know already that your body parts don’t behave and display the willingness to take punishment like they did a few years ago?
But the thing is, not only is stretching a great form of exercise, it keeps your body and joints limber and flexible, along with helping you sleep better.
Knowing how to stretch and exercise without hurting yourself or causing undue stress and soreness of your muscles is the key to staying active as we age.
It has two sections, beginner and more advanced. The more advanced stretches are just methods to get further into the “beginner stretches”. Just click on the book and choose the spiral bound book. It will last for years.
Abide by these 8 rules for stretching and exercise and you’ll have no problems.
How To Do Stretching Exercises To Stay Young
1. Check with your doctor first
We can’t very well start without the obligatory don’t try this without checking with your doctor, so there you go.
2. Always warm up first
Warming up first basically means that if you go straight from bed to doing stretches, you’re probably going to hurt yourself — senior citizen or not.
Even though athletes use stretching as a method to warm muscles before doing things like playing sports, running or walking at the park, you’ll still need to be up and around before you start.
When I’ve been sitting here at my computer for a couple of hours and decide to do my stretching exercises: I usually take the time to walk outside to get the blood circulation going before I begin. That gets my muscles and joints going prior to stressing them.
You want to take slow and steady breaths when you are stretching, and sometimes I need to remind myself to breathe during a stretch.
The steady and focused intake of oxygen helps calm your body and mind, making muscles more pliable and willing to stretch.
4. Take it slow
Do not be surprised to learn how limited your range of motion has become when you start your flexibility training program. And be careful not to overdo the process to speed things up.
Stretching exercises are vital to staying healthy after retirement, so don’t hurt yourself and stop before you see the amazing results.
Just do your exercises and stretch out very gently to the point of feeling some tension in your muscles without pain. If you haven’t been stretching using an every other day routine that takes 20-45 minutes will allow you to begin to see remarkable results in 2 or 3 weeks.
5. Hold the stretch
When you think about your own stretching routine, think about actually elongating your muscles and tendons. It’s not going to happen overnight, but that’s what you’re trying to accomplish with these exercises.
When you stretch, holding the position for 20 seconds or more gently aides your muscles to relax, warm, and stretch. I find that working up to 10 full breaths in the stretch is just about right.
6. Don’t push past pain
This is simple. Don’t do it if it Hurts! As senior citizens we will do well to remember that thinking pain is gain is WRONG.
Here’s how stretching works for me: I start into the stretching pose and my body says “that’s as far as we’re going”. I honor that and do not continue pushing.
However, as I continue holding that position and breathing I will feel my muscles relax and each breath takes me minutely further into the stretch. That’s the key!
7. Easy in, easy out
Form is everything when it comes to stretching for exercise. You’ll want to slip into the pose gently, and out the same way. Seniors especially, will risk pain and tearing something in sudden movements.
8. Consistency is key
If you’re stretching with gentleness and honoring your body, it’s not strenuous, so try to set a routine of every other day. Most seniors have no problem with a 20 minute workout, but just find your own pace, and go for it.
To tell you the truth about my own stretching and exercising routines, I am regular as clockwork for weeks or months. Then I slowly get out of the regularity until I’ve stopped altogether.
It usually takes me a couple of weeks to notice that I’m less energetic, sluggish, have more body aches and pains than when I was doing my stretches and exercise.
So after a few weeks of AWOL — I go back to work. The first few sessions make it painfully obvious that muscles and tendons were shrinking and shortening. But it doesn’t take long to see the difference the stretching exercises were making and how bad I was doing without them.