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  • Karen McPhail, RN, MSN

Do Not Forget to Stretch as it is More Important than you realize!

Regular exercise is important for maintaining overall health and supporting mobility. Stretching is also often overlooked, but equally important for several reasons. Stretching also helps to support overall health, keep muscles strong, and improve flexibility. As we get older it is important to maintain our flexibility in order to help with mobility and proper range of motion in our joints. Proper stretching helps us to avoid muscle shortening and tightening. If we do not maintain our muscles, (especially the long muscles and our core which are vital for mobility), they will weaken which can result in decreased range of motion, mobility issues, falls, and possible injury. Consider stretching as another preventative health measure and something vital to add to your daily routine! Again, exercise and stretching should be a part of every day. Make it easy but starting from your head and slowly moving down to your toes. Stretching your head, neck, lower back and shoulders, where tension tends to settle is very important. Also rolling joints such as hips, knees and ankles will help to lubricate joints which often effects mobility. Always hold a stretch strong, firm without wobbling or pulsing, for around 30 seconds. Do not hold the stretch if it is painful. Stretching should feel good and only slight pressure; stretching should never be done to the point of pain. You can stand to do stretching by keeping your legs spread slightly and knees bent, holding your back straight and core muscles as tight as possible or you can sit in a chair if more comfortable. Make exercise always on your terms and set realistic goals! Some excellent senior exercise tapes and virtual programs are available and can be used for variety. Tai Chi and senior yoga are also excellent ways to stretch and get moving. As with all exercise programs please consult your physician before beginning and to obtain proper holistic guidance. If you need assistance in finding virtual programs please reach out via our contact area.

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