Stretches For Positive Aging
Do you know that one of the most effective, inexpensive and pain-free ways to look and feel younger is to exercise and perform daily stretches?
To help stay mobile as we age, it’s important to focus on staying limber so we can continue to enjoy activities without pain or discomfort. Try these stretches that will have you feeling younger in no time.
Stability Ball Chest Opener
Sit on a stability ball of appropriate size, feet planted on the floor a little wider than hip-width apart. Slowly roll down onto your back while walking your feet forward. Drop your hips, allowing your lower back to round naturally against the ball or keep your legs and glutes engaged to slightly lift your hips. Inhale and exhale fully while holding the stretch, softening your shoulder blades into the ball.
Lie supine on the mat and stretch your arms out to the sides, palms up, shoulders anchored to mat. Slowly drop your knees toward your right side as your head turns left. Relax as your legs sink toward the floor. Actively press your shoulders down; hold and breathe for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Quad Wall Stretch
Position a mat flush to a flat, smooth wall. Place your right knee on the floor against the wall, with your shinbone perpendicular to the floor and your toes pointed. Bring your left foot forward to create a 90-degree bend in your left knee as if in a lunge. With your right shinbone just outside your right thigh bone, press your hands into your left thigh and rise to a tall, one-legged kneeling position. Use your core muscles to draw your rib cage back toward the wall and up over your hips. Breathe deeply and hold for 10–30 seconds; then switch sides.
Seated Hip Opener
Sit cross-legged with your right leg on top. Gently pull your right ankle/foot toward your left knee. Breathe deeply and press your right knee downward toward your left ankle/foot. If you have tight hips, you can sit on a step or yoga block. If you have mobile hips, you can reach forward and down with your arms and chest. Hold for 10–30 seconds, breathing fully, and gently switch sides.
Photographs by Carrie Butler.