Keep what you’ve got! The key to healthy aging
Good mobility is needed for every part of daily living. And when it comes to mobility, the key to healthy aging is “keep what you’ve got”. We all would like to keep the strength, endurance and flexibility of our younger bodies. But even if “what you’ve got” is the ability to walk from room to room in your home comfortably, keep it! It’s important to maintain flexibility and range of motion because studies consistently show that the less mobile an elderly person is the more at risk of falls they are. Inactivity is the biggest culprit.
Adebola Adewumi, physical trainer and owner of GYMGUYZ, states “with age, flexibility decreases by up to 50 percent in some joints. Since this decrease is gradual throughout your life, you may not even notice it. Then, one day you go to reach something or get up off the floor and … ouch! If you’re a senior looking to gain more independence, mobility, and flexibility (which can help you avoid falls and other injuries), stretching just might be your new best friend.”
Adebola identifies three stretches that can help. There are many more that can be done on a regular basis.
Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch
Over time, it can become hard to stand up straight, since the muscles are so used to being in a hunched position. This shoulder stretch will help loosen these muscles and improve spinal flexibility, so you can stand straight again.
- Begin standing tall, arms by your sides. Now, reaching behind you with both hands, pull your shoulders back and clasp your fingers together.
- If you feel a stretch already, hold it here. If you can go further, push your clasped hands away from your lower back and gently arc backward.
- Return to standing tall, and repeat.
This back stretch is great for gaining greater mobility in your spine, and can even help with rounded shoulders. It’s also slightly dynamic, which will get your blood flowing.
- Start by standing tall, with your hands on your hips.
- Gently arc backward, looking up toward the ceiling. Hold for about three seconds, then return to standing.
- Repeat 10 times.
Seated Hip Stretch (one of Adebola’s favorites)
Tight hips can often keep you from easily doing common activities, such as getting out of a car or bath tub. This hip stretch will help increase the flexibility in your hips, allowing you greater range of motion.
- Begin sitting tall in a sturdy chair.
- Cross your right leg over your left, letting the right ankle sit atop your left knee.
- Relax your right hip, letting gravity pull it toward the floor. You may already feel a stretch deep in your hip.
- To go further, gently press down on your right leg and the knee for a deeper stretch.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch legs.
If you want personalized help with these exercises, or would benefit from talking with an expert, contact Adebola at GYMGUYZ . They offer a free, complimentary session (503-716-1222).
To find out more about United Homecare’s commitment to excellence, please visit: homecarepartner.org or call 503-433-8079.