If you wake up and still feel tired, it could be that your muscles are too tight. Becoming inflexible can change your quality of life, causing you to lose your range of motion, putting stress on essential joints, and leading to more injuries.
However, you don’t have to feel tight. By incorporating a stretch routine into your daily schedule, you can restore some of your flexibility.
The Reason You Should Stay Flexible
There’s a common misconception that only physically active people need to be flexible. Yet, according to UC Davis Health, maintaining flexibility is vital to overall body health. Besides, by staying flexible, you can preserve your independence and mobility as you age.
However, there are a range of other benefits of being flexible, including lowering your chances of developing back pain and injury and preventing knee pain commonly associated with getting older.
4 Fundamental Stretches To Incorporate in Your Daily Routine
For those over 65, regular stretching can help prevent becoming sedentary while improving your range of motion and helping you recover your range of movement in a few months. Before you begin doing any of the stretches mentioned below, you should warm your body first. Stretching when your muscles are “cold” will only lead to tearing and further injuries. Taking a five-minute walk to get your blood pumping is ideal, then once you start stretching, keep a position for 30 seconds at a time. As your range of motion increases, try to maintain a stretch for between a minute and two minutes.
These expertly-curated stretches help improve the flexibility of core muscles, in turn helping you restore your range of motion.
1. Hamstring Stretch (with Towel)
To loosen your hamstrings, place a towel on the bottom of your foot while your knee is slightly bent. You should be laying on your back at this stage. Then, slowly raise your bent knee to a 90-degree angle, pulling gently on the towel. Hold for thirty seconds before alternating legs. Repeat two or three times.
As you do this, you will feel the stretch in your thigh. If you want to deepen the feeling, straighten your leg.
2. Lying Hip Rotation
This is another stretch you can do while lying down. The pose relieves pressure from your lower back. While you’re laying on your back, raise both knees, then bring the ankle of the opposite leg across your raised knee. Now rotate your hip, lifting the raised knee toward you. Hold for thirty seconds before repeating on the opposite leg.
3. Wall Hamstring Stretch
This stretch engages your core and loosens hamstrings, but instead of supporting your leg with a towel, you’ll support it with a wall or high couch. Laying on the floor, position yourself close to a wall with your hips facing the wall.
Keep one leg on the floor while raising the other leg on the wall or couch. Straighten the leg as much as possible while your back remains flat on the floor. To make this stretch slightly less strenuous, move your body further away from the wall or couch.
4. Seated Shoulder Squeeze
If you want to improve posture and reduce any upper back pressure and neck cramps, this is the ideal stretch. While seated on the floor –– or a bed –– clasp your hands together behind your back and straighten your arms. Raise your arms as far as is possible to get the best effects from this stretch.
You can hold the pose for 10 seconds at a time before releasing and repeating three to five times.
These stretches are ideal for any age and should help you improve your range of motion if you do them religiously. If your muscles are especially tense, start with shorter periods instead of the recommended thirty seconds. Then work up to thirty seconds over time.