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Video:Stretching for Seniors

with Tricia van der Walde

Learning how to properly do stretching exercises for seniors can help to make joints and muscles less stiff. Here, see step-by-step instructions for doing stretching exercises for seniors.See Transcript

Transcript:Stretching for Seniors

Hi this is Tricia van der Walde for About.com.

Five Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Today I'm going to show you five easy stretches for seniors which can be done in the safety of your own home or also in the gym setting.

Before Doing Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Before you do any stretches you should be properly hydrated and warmed up for a few minutes so you are more limber to do your stretches. Each stretch should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds to a minute so you are going to breathe 2 or 3 times in each position.

The first stretch I'm going to show you is seated on a chair, good postural alignment and drawing in the belly button. You have your hand placed underneath the chair and with the opposite hand and bring it up, placing it on the side of the head gently drawing the ear towards the shoulder. So now you are drawing the opposite shoulder away from the opposite ear. This is an excellent stretch for the neck and you can repeat this for the opposite side.

The next stretch will be in the standing position so we are going to get up. We are going to do the calf stretch. So you are just going to pivot at the hip, you are going to come forward with your eyes forward, drawing the belly button in, keeping this back nice and straight so you are drawing the toes towards the shin, breathing in and out. Exhaling until you feel the calf muscle releasing and you can stand up and repeat this on the opposite side.

To open up the chest muscle we are going to bring our hands behind us, drawing the shoulders down and the shoulder blades together so that we are relaxing at the shoulders and we are opening up at the level of the chest. Again you hold this for a minimum of 30 seconds, breathing in and out each time.

The next stretch we are going to do sitting down and we are going to take the number four position with our legs, one foot at the level of the opposite knee and we can use a prop for this in the form of a belt or a sash or an elastic band, which is what I have. This helps us keep a nice straight back and here we just pivot forward with both hips well aligned, gazing forward with the eyes, bending down and drawing the belly button in and doing your nice breathing in and out. Hold the stretch until you feel the release on the back all the way from the lower leg to the upper leg. Come up and repeat this on the opposite side.

The last stretch that I want to show is drawing you knees up and letting them fall to the sides, soles of the feet together, sitting back on the palms of your hands, fingers open, shoulders drawing back and just allowing a nice release of the hips. Hold this stretch the same amount of time as the other stretches and that is a great hip opener. Thanks for watching. To learn more just visit us on the web at About.com.

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