Better Stretches for Older Adults
Would you like to know the most functional, effective, helpful stretches possible, especially if you are and older-adult? Then read on.
You can extend this to any stretches you integrate into a workout as well. After at least five, and perhaps as many as nine, decades of forward rounding, do you really need more of the same? Instead, open up and counteract any closing-off effects from the life you’ve led.
Avoid the Hunch
While universal and popular, the stretches shown above actually create more *“hunch” *and* spinal curvature*, increase *rounded shoulder syndrome*, and contribute to *problematic posture* overall. These common moves may be safe, but are they useful? Besides being unhelpful for older adults, they exacerbate postural problems in all populations.
Seek opportunities to *open *and* expand* the front of the body. In lieu of the three stretches shown above, substitute these stretches that will help you improve posture and spinal alignment. Adopting this simple change will make sense once you consider where you are already elongated or overstretched and where you are tight.
Three Counteracting Stretches
Backward shoulder roll:
- Stand tall, gazing forward or down.
- Inhale: Squeeze shoulder blades together.
- Exhale: Roll shoulder blades back and down toward spine.
- Repeat, making sure shoulders go back and down, not up and forward.
- Bring hands up alongside ears, fingers lightly touching side of head.
- Inhale: Lift chest to prepare.
- Exhale: Engage core and move elbows back and away.
- Return to start and repeat.
Front deltoid and pec stretch:
- Stand tall, in neutral alignment.
- Place hands on lower back, fingers down, as if sliding hands into back pockets.
- Inhale to prepare. Exhale: Gently squeeze elbows toward the spine.
- Release and repeat.
For more information on better stretches for older adults, contact Maurie Cofman, CMES, CES, TBMM-CES, Personal Trainer, Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, Health Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist in the St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO area.