Have you heard this before? “Seniors who exercise, live longer and their strength is equal to that of people 10 years younger.”
That’s a tough statement to prove but I’ve heard it is motivating to some people. My theory is that if someone gets to be at a “senior” age, they have already accomplished a lot.
Let’s talk about quality of life for anyone at any age but particularly for those at the senior level. You decide what is a senior level and what is not.
Stretching is so simple and easy that many people believe there must be no real value to it. Not true. Stretching exercises are very definite quality of health and life additives. If you are a senior or if you aspire to be a senior citizen, the following five simple stretching exercises will help with your flexibility, attitude, stress level and overall circulation. These are critical quality of life factors and they must be done every day.
1. Shoulder Stretches
Sitting or standing with a straight spine, use your left hand to reach over and grasp your right elbow On the top side of your arm. Holding the right elbow straight, pull the entire right arm across to the left as far as is comfortable. Keep both shoulders down and hold this position for a count of 8. Repeat the same process for the other arm. Do this complete exercise three times. This keeps the shoulders tension free and limber.
2. Wall Push Ups
Stand in front of a wall about two feet or two foot lengths back. Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height. Bend arms until your chin touches the wall. Hold to the count of 5. Do these army and shoulder stretching exercise 5 times. Five times 5. This will gently build up strength in the upper back, shoulders, arms and neck. This is also a great tension reliever when the upper body feels stressed.
3. Foot and Calf Stretches With Chair
Turn a chair around in order to hold on to the top of the chair with the seat facing away from you. The top of the chair should have a back you can hold on to at waist or mid-chest level and should not swivel or move. Stand with feet shoulder-length apart. Hold on to the top of the chair while lifting up onto the toes of both feet. When you are on your toes, hold for a count of 5. Keep holding the chair top and rock on your feet so that your weight is on the heels of your feet and your toes are slightly off the ground. Hold this leg and foot stretch for a count of 5. Repeat the process 5 times. This routine will keep toes and calves limber and tension-free. It will also improve balance if repeated every day.
4. Hamstring Warm-ups
Using the same chair in exercise #3, place hands on the chair back and stand with feet shoulder-length apart. Bend the knee and raise the left foot behind you with your lower leg parallel with the floor. Flex the foot back and forth for a count of 8. Repeat with the other foot. Do these exercise at least 5 times. This will keep your calf and hamstring muscles warmed up to address the demands of daily living.
5. Easy Back Stretch
Everyone seems to like this one the best. For one, it’s so easy to do and they can’t believe there is an exercise benefit to it. Stand with feet shoulder-length apart. Place hands on hips. Keeping the spine straight (this is important), gently twist the body to the right as far as you can do without losing that straight line in the spine and neck. Hold the stretch for a count of 5 then repeat by twisting as far as you can go to the other side. Hold this stretch to a count of 5. Repeat this routine 10 times. Do this every day and it will keep you limber, flexible and feeling good.
Being a senior person has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the condition of your body. These five easy stretching exercises will keep you limber, feeling good and ready for a lot more life.