The Benefits of Stretching in Older Adults

Stretching has many benefits.  In general, stretching helps with relaxation, and much flexibility can be gained from stretching on a regular basis.  Usually, stretching is done before and after exercises to warm up and soothe muscles.  However, stretching for seniors is a whole other story.

As we age, our muscles become shorter and lose their elasticity.  Senior citizens begin slowing down their movements and even give up their regular routines to avoid injury and falls as their bodies get weaker.  In some cases, seniors become unable to walk due to disease or loss of strength.  Stretching is an important part of senior’s flexibility and will help offset the effects of normal decline in the flexibility of your joints, and help you remain active and independent.  It is extremely important to keep muscles strong, even when one cannot walk or move for long periods of time.  This is where stretching for seniors carries the most benefits.

When the body doesn’t move, it only gets weaker.  Muscles get smaller and basic movements become impossible, as well as, joint pain that some seniors suffer on a daily basis.  But when stretching is added to your life, you’ll feel better and joint problems will improve.  Stretching can also improve blood circulation, reduce symptoms of disease and give you an overall feeling of wellbeing.  Stretching especially can benefit those suffering from Arthritis, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Stretching exercises may seem simple or not worth the time, but even with a little movement stretching for seniors can help.  To learn more about a stretching program fit specifically for you, speak with a Physical Therapist.  The goal of physical therapy is to restore physical ability so that you can function as independently as possible.  Physical therapists understand how the body moves, and thus work with you to help improve movement. Not only do they try to strengthen weakened muscles through exercise and appropriate stretches, they teach some people how to move better by using canes and walkers. A physical therapist also may need to assess how well you are able to perform daily activities in your home. Remember, before you start a new exercise or stretching program, always consult with your physician first.