The Best Stretching Exercises for Seniors

By Renee Gerber , last updated July 11, 2011

There are some really great ways for seniors to keep fit, and many of them involve certain stretching exercises. Senior citizens generally do not have the same strength and energy levels as someone years younger, but that doesn't mean they can't keep in shape. Stretching exercises are ideal to maintain overall good health and will help prevent injury.

Static or Dynamic Stretching?

Generally speaking, you should keep your exercises limited to about two or three days per week and use three to five reps each at 20 to 30 seconds per hold. You can exercise various parts of your body and focus on those that may be "problem" areas. For instance, if you have a bad back, you can perform good flexibility stretching exercises that can strengthen it.

You can perform either static or dynamic stretching exercises. Static refers to a method that lengthens muscle that surrounds tissue and in turn increases range of motion. Dynamic stretching utilizes motions that are used to increase the range of motion for your joints.

Warm Up First

Of course, one thing you should always do when starting a good workout routine is to warm up beforehand. This will ensure that you are indeed ready for your stretching exercises and won't strain yourself. Afterward, you can work out both upper and lower body parts with stretching routines that involve your shoulders, upper back, chest and arms as well as your legs, ankles, hips, lower back and knees.

Stretching Exercises

Make sure to hold your stretches for about 30 seconds, as this will greatly improve your strength and resistance. To increase your range of motion in the upper back and shoulders, as well as improve your flexibility in the chest area, perform shoulder circles. Additionally, the overhead reach stretch involves reaching both arms over your head and increases range of motion in the shoulders and upper back. Neck rotation works out kinks in your neck, calf stretch helps you to better straighten your knees and lower back stretching increases range of motion in your spine, trunk and your ability to bend high or low.

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