There have been countless articles and think pieces devoted to the importance of regular physical activity of seniors. While we do not disagree with this sentiment, there seems to be a missing component of physical activity: stretching! Although not as glamorous as exercise, a professional home health aide can support stretching as an activity that is incredibly crucial to ensure healthy aging as seniors enter into their golden years.
The following will look into some of the many reasons why seniors should be stretching more!
There’s a reason they say that if you don’t use it, you lose it! One of the main benefits of stretching is improved flexibility. When seniors stretch their bodies, they are exploring, testing, and broadening their personal range of motion. They are allowing their muscles to lengthen, their tendons to expand, and their joints to breathe.
Through regular stretching, seniors can aid in improving their mobility, allowing them to stay active while aging in place.
Just as mobility can aid in physical activity, it can also aid in fall prevention. This is because, when seniors stretch their muscles, they are expanding their own physical capabilities. They are moving their body into different positions, holding them and practicing their balance. This twofold practice can aid in fall prevention: it helps seniors avoid scenarios where they would lose their balance and also allow themselves to fall safely or even find their bearings.
When seniors stretch, they are actively promoting healthy blood flow, and even increasing it altogether. This healthy blood flow is imperative to aging well, as it is directly correlated to higher oxygen levels, heavier nutrient concentration, and removal of metabolic waste.
There is a reason that stretching calms us down: it provides stress relief!
During stressful moments, our muscles tense and we prepare to either fight or flee. Regardless of our actions immediately after, the body holds onto this stress in our tensed muscles. Thus, when seniors stretch, they can relieve tensed muscles of stress, therefore aiding the brain in removing stress as well.
For seniors who are looking to stay active throughout aging, stretching is paramount. Stretching prepares the body for physical activity, easing it into the exercise. By improving circulation, waking up the muscles, and improving mobility, stretching can help a senior safely stay active as they age in place.