As we age our muscles and joints weaken and range of movement declines. This makes it challenging to maintain mobility. Often, older adults do not have the opportunity or ability to stay active outside their homes. What many do not realize is how essential it is to incorporate a stretching regimen or assisted stretching techniques to their routine. With regular stretching older adults can improve quality of life by lessening many aches and potentially increasing one’s lifespan. Several of the health benefits stretching offers include reducing lower back discomfort, improving posture, and increasing blood flow and energy levels.
Reduces Pain and Arthritis
The most common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis, is considered a natural part of aging and cannot categorically be avoided. It is caused by the gradual breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage between joints. When Osteoarthritis affects the facet joints (between two vertebrae), the resulting pain can be felt in the lower back or neck regions. Although it may be painful and difficult to move these joints, regular stretching can benefit older adults as a way to improve muscle elasticity, and range of motion. Using a heat pack to warm-up stiff muscles before stretching is recommended. Following your exercise, one should apply an ice pack to minimize swelling in the joints. Assisted stretching with the aid of another individual can be beneficial if you are unable to perform the stretches yourself.
Improves Poor Posture
The adage “sit up straight” is a habit to practice throughout one’s life. However, many find themselves having spent years in their careers hunched over a desk. This habit along with the decrease of one’s body water content results in reduced elasticity and flexibility, thus, tightening of tendons and ligaments in the chest and shoulders. This combination over time will cause poor posture and pain in the lower back and shoulders. With a consistent stretching regimen improving flexibility can be simple. Stretching will help loosen tendons, ligaments, and muscles, giving you a greater range of motion. Incorporating senior strength training exercises with a stretching routine or assisted stretching can balance out weaker muscles and further correct poor posture.
Increases Blood Flow and Energy Levels
Performing a dynamic stretching routine will improve blood circulation. To gradually increase your heart rate, blood flow, and body temperature this low-intensity form of stretching uses controlled movements. This type of stretching will not only improve your range of motion, but it is also an ideal warm-up for any activity. Dynamic stretches include jumping jacks, shoulder circles, arm swings and lunges. In addition to lengthening one’s muscles, dynamic stretches increase circulation and nutrient flow; enhancing the body’s energy level.
Stretching and assisted stretching therapy to provide other benefits to one’s overall health. They can help reduce stress, muscle stiffness, and improve sleep. Another overlooked advantage is that stretching therapy is an ideal chiropractor alternative. As a natural self-therapeutic process, stretching should be an essential component of one’s daily routine. With age comes many changes, however, if one maintains flexibility and mobility through stretching, many age-related issues can potentially be avoided or managed.
Our goal at the Stretch Station is your overall well-being. No need to live with pain. If you have degenerative arthritis, lower backache, poor posture, or low levels of energy consider our unique assisted stretching techniques as a component of your plan to wellness. Our specialized staff can assist you in reducing, managing or eliminating your discomfort.