Did you know that there are several health benefits to stretching your muscles each day? Light stretching can make a big difference, especially in seniors and in those who have medical concerns such as diabetes. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, reduces pain and stiffness, helps improve range of motion, and reduces the risk of injury.
According to Rehab Director Jennifer Cangialosi at The Watermark at East Hill, “Stretching is a vital aspect of a daily or weekly exercise routine and should be completed after a warm-up and before you begin exercising. Including stretching into your routine can increase flexibility, reduce risk of injury and/or pain and lead to increased ease with everyday functional tasks, walking, and climbing stairs.” Tight muscles can lead to pain or injury in some cases. A person with tight muscles may have difficulty maintaining a full stride while walking or may not be able to take a large enough step to go down a curb or step safely.
Added flexibility makes everyday tasks easier such as:
• Reaching items on the top shelf
• Bending over and picking up items
• Putting on socks/shoes
Here are some stretching tips from our Rehab Department, which can be done throughout the day:
1. Neck Stretch: Stretch the neck to both sides, forward and backward,
holding each stretch for 30 seconds at a time.
2. Shoulder Stretch: Shoulder stretches can be done in a variety of ways. Place
your elbows on a counter, step backward and bend forward to stretch the
shoulders. You can also grasp the top of a door or walk your fingers up the wall
leaning forward to further stretch the shoulders.
3. Ankle Stretch: The ankles may get tight, and there are multiple ways to
stretch them. Cross your legs and use your hand to stretch the ankle side to
side. Then, stand with your palms against the wall (in a pushing motion) and
move one leg behind you with the toes of the forward leg against the wall.
Bend the front leg until you feel a stretch.
4. Back Stretch: Sitting on a chair, twist to one side while grasping the back of
the chair to further the stretch as needed.
5. Hamstring Stretch: Sitting on a bed, keep your legs straight with your toes up to
the ceiling. Bend forward trying to grasp your toes to stretch out the hamstring.
6. Groin Stretch: Sitting on a bed or on the floor, place the soles of your feet
together to enter the butterfly position. Using your hands, gently push downward
to the floor to stretch the groin.
Staying fit and healthy is important to residents living at The Watermark at East Hill. They spend time at the fitness center, pool, putting green, and on the walking trail. Getting in a good stretch helps them to stay active.
Did you stretch today? If not, take time for you and those muscles. It’s well worth the investment.
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