Even the smallest of tasks can begin to feel painful for older adults – feeling stiffness when you turn your head, getting painful sensations in your extremities, and so on. With improved flexibility, it is possible for many seniors to find a better quality of life again as they fight against the pain of aging! According to the CDC, roughly 50 million adults live with chronic pain which is proven to lead to depression, stress, and loss of sleep. By doing these stretches from the comfort of our Jacksonville independent living facilities, you can relieve pain and live better!
Overhead Side Stretch
First, stand with your feet firmly hip width apart, then raise your arms overhead and interlace your fingers. Keep your torso straight and gently lean to one side, holding that pose for 10 to 30 seconds before returning to center and repeating on the other side. This stretch strengthens the intercostal muscles, which support the ribs and facilitate comfortable breathing. Make it easier by sitting in a chair if necessary.
Do you often feel tension in your neck and shoulders? Stand tall with feet hip width apart again, then reach one arm across your body. With your opposite arm, grab the extended arm and slowly draw it closer to your body until you feel your shoulder stretching. Hold that for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat the process with your other arm.
For this exercise, keep one leg straight while extending your opposite heel outward with toes up. Then, without rounding your lower back, gently lean forward from your hips until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold that pose, then switch legs and repeat. It is important to never do more than what you are comfortable with so be sure to not push yourself too hard or you can risk injury.
Supine Knee to Chest Stretch
Lay on your back with your legs straight first, then lift one knee toward your chest as far as you can comfortably without lifting your upper body. Grasp the back of your thigh to draw your leg closer to your chest, then hold it there for 10 to 30 seconds. Release, then repeat with your other leg. This stretches your hip and lower back muscles and creates more space for nerves as they exit your spine, which relieves pain.
This popular yoga pose is said to improve posture and balance and it is an easy way to relieve back pain as well. Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Gently round your back up towards the ceiling – much like how a cat arches its back – while tucking your chin toward your tailbone. Then reverse your movement by arching your back downwards (like a cow) while lifting your hips and head. Alternate between these two positions for 10 to 30 seconds.
Again, it is always important to only do what you are comfortable with! By using these simple stretches, your muscles and joints will find relief in flexibility and your quality of life will be riddled with less pain. At Westminster Woods, an active lifestyle meets a beautiful, wooded campus with convenient access to cosmopolitan Jacksonville. Just outside your door, additional wellness opportunities abound, from yoga to our exclusive My W Life program. Contact us today to learn more about our Jacksonville independent living facilities and see how easy we make it for residents to pursue long and healthy lives.