Let’s face it: we could probably all use a bit more exercise. Modern living means modern conveniences, like not having to run from predators or track our prey across the savanna; but that also means our bodies are more likely to get flabby and out of shape. The problem gets worse as we get older: it becomes a vicious cycle of low energy, lack of motivation, and further physical deterioration. One easy way to break the cycle is some simple stretching exercises you can do at home, every day, in only a couple minutes.
Healthline.com notes that the benefits of stretching include better posture, lower muscle tension and soreness, and reduced risk of injury; it can also help circulation, muscle control, and balance. At this point, a daily stretching regimen seems like a no-brainer! Here are their recommended stretches for older adults:
Neck: slowly bring your chin toward your chest, then turn your head from one side to the other. Hold for 15 seconds at each side.
Shoulders/upper arms: hold a towel in one hand over your heard so it hangs down behind your back. Grab the hanging end with your other hand and gently pull down until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds per arm.
Chest: extend both arms to the side, palms forward. Reach back until you feel the stretch across your chest and the front of your arms, but don’t go too far. Hold for 30 seconds.
Ankles: sit in a chair and slowly move the end of your foot up and down, then side to side. Hold for 30 seconds at each position, then switch feet.
Hamstrings: lie on your back and extend one leg at a 90 degree angle from your body. Grip the back of your thigh and slowly pull the leg towards you while keeping the other leg and hip flat on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds when you feel the stretch, then switch legs.
Quadriceps: lie on your side (or stand with one hand on a wall or railing) and bend your knee to bring your foot behind you. Pull the foot towards your body until you feel the stretch. Use a belt, towel or exercise band if you can’t reach your foot. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Hips: lie on your back and bring one knee out to the side. Rest that foot against the other leg and gently push down on the bent knee until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Lower back: lie on your back with knees bent and feet together. Keep the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Lower your legs to one side, keeping both knees together, twisting your torso until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then twist to the other side.
That entire routine only takes 7 minutes and requires no special equipment, so there’s really no excuse: you can find seven spare minutes throughout your day no matter how busy you are.
In this list of the best anti-aging exercises, Huffington Post notes that stretches are an essential component of any exercise routine, “especially if you have, and have had, a sedentary lifestyle or sit at a desk all day.” They recommend two stretches in particular: the static pectoral stretch for your chest and upper body, as well as the static calf stretch to help avoid lower body muscle injuries. These are slightly more advanced than the previously listed stretches, but the linked videos should have you mastering them in no time.
Stretching is an important part of staying active and healthy, especially as we get older. For the maximum amount of comfort, support, and injury protection, try out a pair of Z-CoiL shoes Risk Free for 30 Days: return them in any condition for any reason and get a complete refund.