Flexibility Exercise: Stretch For Your Health
Benefits of Stretching
Flexibility exercise is an important part of a fitness routine. Stretching exercises help relaxation, warm up and soothe muscles before and after exercise. Benefits also include greater mobility as well as strengthening the joints and muscles.
When seniors lose mobility because of inactivity, stretching can help to keep the muscles strong and allow a return to better health. Stretching also helps to prevent injury during physical activity.
Stretching doesn't have to be time consuming. A few simple stretches before and after exercise is all that is needed.
If the body doesn't move, muscles get weaker, joints become more sore and stiff. Daily life can be greatly improved by adding a little stretching to your life. Your joints and muscles will feel better and improve greatly.
Another benefit is that circulation improves which in turn helps promote heart health. Overall well-being is yet another terrific benefit of being more flexible.
How To Do It
Stretching should be performed any time you begin to exercise. You should include it at the beginning as a warm-up and at the end as part of your cool-down.Walk or take a warm bath. This helps prevent injury to joints and muscles.Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, repeat one to two times for each movement. Here are some beginning stretches you can try:
Hamstring Stretch:Stand behind a chair or bench, extend one leg onto the chair with your leg straight, gently bend over as you try to place your hand on your toes. If you can't touch your toes, don't force the movement simply go as far forward as you can. Hold the position and repeat. Do the same for your other leg. Eventually you may be able to touch your forehead to your knee as you bend forward. However, the goal is just to get a nice gentle stretch to warm-up the muscles.
Back Stretch:Stand with your arms extended upward.As you reach upward, bend backwards slowly. Feel the gentle stretch. Hold and repeat.
Torso Stretch:Sit with your arms up, fingers interlaced and palms facing up. Slowly and gently lean to one side.Hold and feel the stretch then repeat to the other side.
Have fun with stretching. Consider partner or group stretching to keep you motivated and safe with exercise.
In any movements that you do, be sure not to over stretch. If you feel any pain or discomfort stop immediately.
If you are new to this type of movement consult your doctor before you start your new flexibility exercise.
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