Simple Stretching Exercises: Improve Balance and Mobility
Aging affects many different parts of the body. As you get older, your muscles, joints, and tendons all change in ways that affect your mobility and balance.
Stretching is a simple way to add gentle exercise to your routine, keep your muscles active, and increase your flexibility, which in turn improves balance, prevents falls, and alleviates pain and stiffness. However, always be sure to listen to your body and take things slowly to prevent injury.
1. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
A crucial exercise for mobility and flexibility, the standing quadriceps stretch focuses on the quadriceps muscle, located on the top half of your upper leg.
- Grab a chair or the back of a couch for support – you will be balancing on one leg for this exercise.
- Hold on to the chair with your left hand, bend your right knee, and use your right hand to grab your leg by the ankle and gently pull your foot toward your bottom.
- Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, let your leg back down, and repeat with your left leg.
2. Overhead Side Stretch
The overhead side stretch is a great way to loosen up your abdomen, back, and shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms over your head.
- Keeping your torso straight, slowly lean to the left.
- Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, return to center, and repeat the stretch on the right side. Older adults with mobility restrictions can complete this exercise sitting down.
- Sit in a supportive chair with your hips, knees, and toes facing forward.
- Lift your arms above your head and repeat the instructions above.
3. Shoulder Stretch
This simple shoulder stretch loosens up your joints to reduce muscle pain and prevent deterioration.
- Stand or sit straight up as tall as you can.
- Grab one of your arms with your opposite hand and slowly, gently pull your arm across your chest until you start to feel a stretch in your shoulder, keeping your elbow below shoulder height.
- Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat with your other arm.
If you need further assistance improving your balance and mobility, Christian Health’s Bolger Short-Term Rehab offers a variety of physical and occupational therapy treatments to get you back to wellness and the life you love.
For more information about inpatient short-term rehab at Christian Health, please call (201) 848-5855. For outpatient short-term rehab, please call (201) 848-5518.