March 21, 2019
In all the noise of new health fads, supplements, and the “diet of the week,” it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lose track of the simple things. That’s a shame, because some of the best exercises and healthy habits are also some of the most basic. Consider one often-overlooked habit: stretching.
According to research by Harvard Health, stretching has more than its share of physical benefits, including better mobility, less muscle strain, and lower likelihood of injury. As a low-impact exercise, stretching is ideal for older adults. It also improves your balance, which can reduce the risk of accidents or falls.
Before you get started, remember these tips:
- Stay safe. Always consult your doctor and your fitness instructor before trying any new exercises, and make sure you respect your body’s limits. Tip: Practicing at home? Make sure you have an open space to move, with a padded, no-slip surface to reduce the risk of accidents.
- Keep at it. As with any exercise, stretching is most beneficial when you do it consistently every day. If you’re an early bird, the morning is a great time to stretch; it allows you to “wake up” your muscles and get limber for the day ahead. Tip: Intimidated? Try just five or ten minutes at first, and then build up to a longer session.
- Find a friend. Recruit a friend or a family member to join you to stay accountable, and make it a social activity! Tip: It may be worth calling ahead to make sure the exercises are senior-friendly.
- Explore more. Looking for a more interesting option? Elements of stretching are included in popular movement activities like Tai Chi (an ancient Chinese exercise based on gentle, balanced movements) and yoga (an Indian exercise of slow stretches). Both have been shown to improve mood, balance, and physical wellness.
A great way to stretch safely is to do it in a group. At The Mayflower’s Fitness Center, daily wellness and exercise classes can help you get started. The center’s experienced physical trainers have designed the curriculum with seniors in mind, so you never have to worry about falling behind.
Interested in taking a tour, or just want more information about the services available at The Mayflower? Call 407-672-1620, or take a look at the monthly fitness calendar online.