As senior citizens age, they are probably told that they need to stretch more. But why is stretching so important, and how can you make it a regular part of your day?
By doing stretches in bed, seniors can make these a regular part of their morning routine, even getting them done before they get up for the day. Of course, you don’t have to stretch in bed if you don’t want to! In this article, we’ll share the best morning stretches for seniors, whether you want to stretch in bed, in your room, or elsewhere.
Benefits of Stretching for Seniors
There are many benefits of stretching for seniors. A simple stretching routine can promote:
- Injury risk reduction — Stretching can help seniors improve their balance and coordination as well as their joint flexibility. This in turn reduces the risk of injury from falling, overextending, or losing your balance.
- Improving muscle control — Stretching helps gently exercise muscles, which may help them become stronger and more coordinated. This can be a great benefit for seniors, who may be suffering from weakened muscles.
- Pain relief — Stretching can relieve tension in muscles and joints, which may improve pain. Back and chest stretches also improve posture, which can further relieve pain.
- Improving circulation — Stretching promotes better blood flow, which is extremely important for seniors. This can also reduce the risk of health conditions related to poor circulation, such as diabetes.
Best Morning Stretches in Bed for Seniors
If you are looking for the best morning stretches you can do, there are a number of choices. These are easy to incorporate into your morning route, so you can get your exercise in before you even get out of bed. Many of them are also easily accessible for bed bound patients and may help relieve pain and improve strength.
Shoulder Stretch — Lying on your bed, extend your legs straight. Press your palms together or grasp an item such as a pillow, then extend your hands slowly over your head. Go as far as you can but don’t overextend yourself! Maintain the position for 30 seconds and return to center.
Hip Stretch — Lie flat on your back with no pillows or blankets. Bending your knees, plant your feet flat on the mattress and slowly lift your hips upward, squeezing your abdominal muscles and glutes. Go as high as you can, then maintain the position for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
Leg Lifts — Lie flat on your back with no pillows or blankets. With your arms at your sides, slowly lift your legs straight until they extend straight up toward the ceiling. If this is too difficult, you can make it slightly easier by bending your knees. Return to center, then repeat the stretch 10 times.
Flexion Exercises — Sit up straight with your legs extended in front of you. You can support your back with pillows if you like! Slowly point your toes away from you, then reverse and stretch them as far back (pointing toward your torso) as you can. Repeat the routine 25 times.
Arm Lifts — A deceptively easy stretch, arm lifts can help promote arm and shoulder strength and improve circulation. Lying flat on your back, simply raise your arms so that you can point at the ceiling. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then return to center.
Shoulder and Neck Rolls — Sitting up on the edge of your bed, slowly raise your shoulders in a shrug. Maintain that position for 10 seconds, then let your shoulder drop. You can also slowly roll your shoulders backward and forward. Neck rolls should be done slowly and gently to avoid injury — start by lowering your ear to your shoulder and holding the position, then switch to the other side. Once you have done this, you can slowly roll your neck, taking care not to go too fast.
Best Videos for Morning Stretches
Sometimes, following along with a video can be helpful. This ensures variety and proper form and can help seniors feel more connected with others.
Here are some of the best videos for morning stretches, both in bed and on the floor. Not all of them may be a good fit, but with a little trial and error, you can find the one that is right for you!
Senior Fitness – Simple Bed Stretches For Seniors | Learning Level – Senior Fitness with Meredith
This video offers simple bed stretches for beginners. This lets viewers get started on improving their flexibility, no matter what their mobility level or how much experience they have.
Do These 4 Stretches EVERY Day – Stretches For Seniors | More Life Health – More Life Health Seniors
This video offers a simple four-stretch daily routine. This is an excellent routine for those who want to keep things basic while still hitting all the most important points of their body.
5 Exercises to Improve Mobility for Seniors – Intermountain Healthcare
If you want to improve mobility, coordination, balance, and flexibility, this video offers simple stretches to help you become more independent.
Stronger Seniors Stretch – Back, Core and Hips – Stronger Seniors
If you prefer to stretch in a chair, this Stronger Seniors video may be a good choice. This gentle exercises help promote mobility and flexibility in the back, core, and hips.
Bed Exercises for Older Adults. Best Bed Exercises for Seniors.| SEVA PT | Dr Madhur Thawani – Seva Physiotherapy Clinic
This video shares simple, gentle stretches you can do in bed to promote better mobility, posture, flexibility, and joint help.
Stretching for seniors can play a huge role in improving health, relieving pain, and reducing the risk of injury. But it doesn’t have to be difficult or strenuous — in fact, it is accessible to everyone, even those who are limited to their bed. These simple stretches are a great place to start.