As we grow older, our bodies become less limber and more prone to accidents and injuries. Medical technology can help keep us healthier and alive longer, but there’s only so much it can do to help us avoid accidents. Developing a regular routine that incorporates stretches and exercise is one way to keep your body limber and flexible. A good stretch can also help reduce the chance of strain or injury. Finally, stretching can also be wonderful way to relax, especially if you incorporate breathing exercises into your workout routine. Remember that stretching is important for getting you ready for a workout and it’s also a healthy way to make your body feel great.
One of the best things about stretching is that it can be done just about anywhere; you can even do it seated in your kitchen. Even if you’re not as limber as you were at 20, you can still stretch. Stretching should be done 2 to 3 times a week and you should perform each stretch about 3 to 5 times, holding a position for 30 seconds to a minute. Always keep in mind that it’s important to warm up before doing any sort of exercise.
When beginning any new routine, it’s important to keep these general flexibility guidelines in mind:
- Don’t bounce during a stretch – movement should be slow and steady. Every move you make should be mindful. Stay focused on where you are and listen to your body.
- Don’t hold your breath – use proper breathing techniques and really feel the oxygen flowing to all parts of your body.
- Stretching shouldn’t hurt – whoever said “No pain, no gain” should be fired out of a cannon. A good workout should be energizing and challenging. It shouldn’t be painful. Always be gentle with your body, and don’t push yourself too hard.
- When performing back exercises, don’t turn and bend at the same time. Lower back injury is one of the most painful of injuries and can take a long time to recover from. Good body mechanics are crucial.
Stretching can help relieve back pain, improve your posture, and has been shown to be beneficial for patients suffering from arthritis. It can also help promote healing after surgery or an injury. Almost every senior can benefit from some form of exercise. As our country grows older, we’re finding that the key to aging well is to eat right and perform some type of exercise on a regular basis.
Before you begin any change in activity, including adding a stretching or exercise program to your routine, speak with your doctor or chiropractor to make sure that is appropriate for you. Remember that your ultimate goal is to improve your life. You don’t want to take any chances by pushing yourself too hard.
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