Keeping our bodies fit is crucial as we get older as it can prevent illness, may play a role in injury prevention and help us stay healthy longer. And, making sure we stay limber and flexible is a vital part of keeping our bodies fit.
“Flexibility is important for older adults,” explains Niki Barr, fitness and wellness director of the Edward A. Myerberg Center. “It helps with overall mobility.”
“Working on flexibility can help your walking and balance,” she adds. “And, those who suffer knee or hip pain can increase their range of motion by adding flexibility exercises to their routines.”
Try these easy exercise suggestions from Niki that you can do at home to improve your flexibility and mobility.
1. Ankle Mobility. In a seated position, point and flex your big toe. Lift the toe up as much as you can and do that 10 times on each foot. Another easy exercise to perform, also while in a seated position, is making a circular motion with your toes in one direction. Reverse and do the same in the other direction.
If you want to practice some standing exercises you can try calf raises. Using a chair or a balance bar, rise up on your toes. Hold this position for a couple seconds and then lower your heels back down. Then, if you’re comfortable, balance yourself on one foot and perform the same exercise.
2. Quad and Hamstring Mobility. Your quads and hamstrings are the front and backside of your thighs. A simple stretch you can do, while in a seated position, is extending one leg out and reaching out towards your toes. You should feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. This, in particular, will help with your hamstring mobility.
To work on your quad flexibility, extend your leg like before but instead of reaching for your toes, simply keep your leg extended for a few seconds before bringing it back down. Do this 10 times on each leg.
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