The Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching for Your Senior Parent’s Mobility- ANAHEIM HILLS

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The Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching for Your Senior Parent’s Mobility- ANAHEIM HILLS



Flexibility and stretching exercises can provide your senior parent with more freedom of movement for both physical and everyday activities. Is you senior parent struggling with mobility, from walking to bending? If so, consider integrating daily balance, flexibility, and strength-training exercises into your senior parent’s daily regimen so that they maintain mobility and independence. 

Balance

Strong balance can decrease the risk of falls for your senior parent. Seniors are more susceptible to osteoporosis – or, bone density loss – which can lead to bone fractures and breaks if your senior parent falls. In order to increase your senior parent’s balance, incorporate balance exercises into your aging parent’s morning routine. Balance exercises are simple and can include standing on one foot and performing alternate leg raises. Low-impact exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi act as beneficial balance and flexibility practices that can help your senior parent decrease their risk of falling and strengthen their ability to walk.   

Flexibility

Seniors tend to lose flexibility, as joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and inactivity can make it more difficult to perform daily activities, such as getting dressed, writing, cooking, and cleaning. Flexibility and range-of-motion exercises can help keep your senior parent’s joints flexible and functional. Exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi can also help enhance your senior parent’s flexibility, without adding stress to their joints.

Strength

Strength training can also help your senior parent maintain mobility and increase balance. Strong muscles help support bones and joints, reduce stiffness, and prevent falls.

If your senior parent is on board with incorporating balance, flexibility, and strength-training exercises into their routine, encourage them to start slow to avoid injury. Check out the low-impact exercises below, provided by Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH:

Neck Stretch

This easy stretch can help relieve tension in your neck. Try to stretch after strength training and during any activity that makes you feel stiff, such as sitting at a desk.

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in a sturdy chair.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a slight stretch. Be careful not to tip or tilt your head forward or backward, but hold it in a comfortable position.
  4. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  5. Turn your head to the left and hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times. 

Shoulder Stretch

This exercise to stretch your shoulder muscles will help improve your posture.

  1. Stand back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart, and arms at shoulder height.
  2. Bend your elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling and touch the wall behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel sharp pain.
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbows, to point toward the floor and touch the wall again, if possible. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  6. Alternate pointing above head, then toward hips.
  7. Repeat at least 3-5 times.

Back of Leg Stretch

If you've had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.

  1. Sit sideways on a bench or other hard surface, such as two chairs placed together.
  2. Keeping back straight, stretch one leg out on the bench, toes pointing up.
  3. Keep other foot flat on the floor.
  4. If you feel a stretch at this point, hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  5. If you don't feel a stretch, lean forward from hips (not waist) until you feel stretching in the leg on the bench.
  6. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.
  7. Repeat at least 3-5 times.
  8. Repeat at least 3-5 times with your other leg.

These exercises help strengthen muscles and balance. If your loved needs to strengthen their muscles to avoid falling and needs assistance with completing daily exercises and tasks, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare in-home home health caregivers encourage light exercise so that your loved one can gain improved mobility, quality of life, and independence.

Keep these tips, provided by Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, in mind before engaging in exercise:

  • If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up can result in injury. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, stretch after, not before.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain, you’re stretching too far. Reduce the stretch so it doesn’t hurt.
  • Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Don’t jerk or bounce into the stretch; it may cause injury.
  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.

About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age.  Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more.  Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25 . The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected] .

Gabriel Irvin

Gabby Irvin received her master’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys writing weekly blog posts for Synergy HomeCare, as it allows her to blend her passion for writing and interest in health care. She is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.

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