Stretching is one of the simplest and gentlest forms of exercise for seniors; it is relatively easier to perform than the aerobic exercise. With advancing years and decreasing mobility, seniors run the risk of weakening their immune system and bodily strength. Sadly, this results in the onset of many age-related diseases. It would therefore be critical for seniors to establish a daily routine of stretching exercise in order to stay physically and mentally fit.
Here are some specific benefits seniors can derive from stretching exercises:
– Stretching aids in relaxation. It soothes tired muscles and frees one from stress. Excessive stress tends to produce a hormone known as cortisol which could causes impairment of brain functions and memory loss. Doing gentle stretches, aids in relaxation and makes you feel energized and refreshed. It produces the ‘feel-good’ hormones called serotonin in the body.
– Stretching strengthens bodily muscles and joints. With advancing years, muscular and joint pain may become a daily affair. For some, even basic tasks may become difficult. The idea of requiring daily assistance and losing one’s independence would naturally be irksome to anyone, including seniors. Stretching reduces the risk of degenerative diseases. It is therefore advisable for seniors to start with the stretching routine as early as possible.
– Stretching improves flexibility. It aids in increases one’s mobility and allows a senior to be actively involved in a large variety of activities. Performing stretches daily, helps seniors to be flexible enough to do one’s own grocery shopping, laundry and even gardening. Maintaining a sense of balance and independence entails lesser risk to falls and injuries; it can be an important step to building one’s personal competence with advance in years.
-Stretching regulates blood circulation. Poor circulation can be the biggest impediment to robust health; it has a negative impact on the arteries and the heart. Lack of circulation can lead to heart diseases whilst improved circulation means an increased blood flow and an improvement in the functioning of the heart. It also aids in quicker recovery from illnesses.
-Stretching improves mental health. Physical and mental health is closely related. Any activity triggers increase of oxygenated blood flow to the brain and improves mental functions. It is known to increase one’s resistance to age-related mental disorders like Alzheimer. Stretching especially in group settings also helps to ward off depression amongst seniors.
-Stretching can improve the quality of one’s life. With increased mobility and decreased pain and suffering, seniors can socialize, meet with friends and relatives, and take part in physical activities as per their interest like walking, swimming, dancing, and gardening– -thus leading a happier and healthier life.
Stretching for seniors is becoming increasingly popular today, due to the huge benefits seniors can derive from it. This form of exercise has been introduced in many Senior Centers across the country on a regular basis. However, for beginners it is vital to exercise caution. To facilitate working on stretches devoid of any muscular injury, a warm-up routine of five to ten minutes walk or a warm bath is advisable. The duration and intensity of this exercise can vary from person to person depending on one’s age and comfort level. It is up to each senior to gauge his/her comfort level.
Indeed, incorporating stretching into your daily routine could yield life-time benefits for seniors.
Source: Live Now, Age Later by Isadore Rosenfeld, MD