Stretch exercises are often the most overlooked and neglected form of exercise. This component is very crucial, regardless of age. Not only does it make you more flexible, stretching helps to prevent injury and decrease stiffness and soreness. You will be able to perform cardio and strength training exercises with more ease. Another benefit is improved coordination – which usually decreases with age.
Some examples of flexibility training include Yoga, Pilates, and Tai-Chi. These are classes can be done at the gym or in the comfort of your home. Other exercises include stretches that involve the head, back, and chest, hip and legs. Some of them can be done standing, sitting in a chair or on the floor.
Static stretching is considered the safest form of stretching for general fitness. However, stretches should be not taken to the point of discomfort. This is predicated on age, activity level, and previous sickness or injuries. Stretching may be recommended by physicians to help seniors regain functionality in certain joints.
If it is hard to maintain a hold for 30 seconds, a 15-second stretch is long enough to elongate the muscle according to the International Journal of Sports Therapy. You will feel a little pressure but that should subside.
It is ideal to stretch daily for flexibility:
- It helps with your range or motion when doing cardio – being able to walk, cycle or swim in longer strides.
- Stretching helps with an improved technique in strength training – being able to perform reps to full completion more easily.
Whichever stretch training you choose, find the workout that is right for you and stick with it. In doing so, your flexibility will increase as muscle tension decreases.