As we get on with age, it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can take an active role in your health by making small and easy decisions like stretching regularly to improve your flexibility, so you can keep falls, aches and pains at bay. You can take an active role in your health by making small and easy decisions like stretching regularly to improve your flexibility.
Photo: Sport Singapore
Here's a compilation of simple stretches to get you started on loosening your muscles and bringing back much-needed flexibility.
This simple stretch helps improve flexibility in your upper back and arms.
1. Start by lifting your left arm over your head and bend your elbow, placing your palm on your back.
2. Use your right hand to clasp your bent left elbow.
3. Hold it for 10 to 30 seconds before switching arms.
To reduce the strain in your neck and upper back area, try this stretch.
1. Stand straight, bring both hands behind your back and clasp your fingers together.
2. Hold it there and push your clasped hands further away from your lower back.
3. To increase the stretch, you can gently lean backwards, then return to a standing pose.
4. Repeat this 10 times.
► READ: Strength training for seniors
This back stretch alleviates a hunched posture and improves the flexibility in your spine.
1. Put your hands on your hips, gently bend backwards, and raise your chin to look towards the ceiling.
2. Hold this pose for about three to five seconds before returning to your standing position.
3. Repeat this 10 times.
Doing this stretch can help loosen tight hips and will offer more flexibility to your hip area.
1. While sitting on a chair, cross your right leg over your left, with your right ankle resting on your left knee.
2. Now, relax the right side of your hip, and gently press down on your right leg and knee.
3. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Hamstring and Lower Back Stretches
These stretches help relieve the stress in your lower back muscles after prolonged sitting.
1. Lie on the floor, and gently bend your right leg to move it slowly towards your chest.
2. Keep your shoulders and head on the floor.
3. Now, clasp your right knee and bring it towards your chest. You should feel a stretch along your lower back, glutes and hamstring.
4. Keeping holding this pose for 30 seconds before relaxing and moving on to your next leg. You can alternate between the two legs.
Ankle rotations can be done just about anywhere. Working out your ankles offers you more balance and helps prevents stiff ankles and falls.
1. While seated, extend one leg and start rotating your ankle slowly, making sure you do so in a full circle.
2. Go for 10-20 rotations clockwise, followed by another set counter-clockwise.
3. Do the same for your other leg.
Simple stretches every day would assist us in feeling more energized and mobile, and as a result, we will also be keeping our joints and muscles strong. With more flexibility, you might even be in a good position to start training up your strength and trying out cardio exercises as well.
Every bit of stretching helps - let’s get started! Owning your health is a lifelong journey, so do not worry even if you are not doing these stretches perfectly. The key thing is just to try and be better every day, because better beats perfect.
To find out more about how you can take ownership of your health, sign up for a fitness and health assessment available at the Active Health Labs located island-wide. Guided by Active Health Coaches, you will understand your current status, learn tips to improve your health and wellness and adopt habits that best suit your lifestyle.