18 Best Stretches to Help Adults Stay Flexible Part 1

18 Dynamic Stretches to Help Adults Stay Flexible

The benefits of stretching are numerous, and it becomes even more beneficial as we age. Stretching in general increases flexibility, and helps with relaxation. It warms up our muscles and tells our body we are getting ready to go.

As we age, our muscles lose their elasticity and shorten. And when it comes to stretching, a little goes a long way.

The best way for adults to reach their weight-loss goals is to stay fit and keep your body in-shape and mobile.

Creating a daily routine for stretching will help keep your body loose and ready for any fitness or personal training classes you are doing.

There are many different styles and classifications of stretching, but in this blog, we are going to focus on dynamic stretching.

Dynamic stretching is a movement stretch, meaning you are moving as you stretch. If you are going to be doing any physical activity, dynamic stretching should be the core of your warm up.

It helps activate muscles, improves range of motion, and strengthens body awareness. It also enhances muscular performance and power.

Here are 18 simple dynamic stretches to help you stay flexible.

1. Shoulder Circles

adultfitness

Target Areas: Shoulders/Upper Back

This exercise can even help increase flexibility in your chest and lungs.

You can either stand or sit for this exercise. Place your fingertips at your shoulders. Circle your shoulders 15 times forward, then switch and circle them 15 times backwards.

2. Lateral Lunge

olderadultfitness

Target Areas: Glutes, Quads, Abductors

Stand with your arms out in front of you and your feet shoulder-width apart. Step out to the side with your right leg and lean into it, pressing through your right heel.

Hold for 2-3 seconds and then step your right leg back to meet your left.

Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10 reps on each side.

3. Reverse Lunge with Reach

adultstretch

Target Areas: Quads, Glutes, Shoulders

Stand with your arms by your side and feet shoulder-width apart. Step back with your right leg, into a lunge position. Once in the lunge, reach your arms above your head.

Bring your hands down, and step your right leg back up into the starting position.

Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10 reps on each foot.

4. Head Rolls

stlouisfitness

Target Area: Neck

Stand up straight with your shoulders pressed back.

Drop your chin towards your chest and roll your head to the right until you’ve made a full circle to your starting position.

Reverse and rotate your chin to the left.

Repeat each side 15 times.

5. Arms Across Chest

fitnessmissouri

Target Area: Shoulders

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Bring both arms up until they are parallel to the floor.

Swing your arms in as if you were giving yourself a hug.

Swiftly, swing your arms back out, pressing your shoulder blades together. Be sure to leave elbows soft.

Repeat 12 times.

6. Arm circles

armcircles

Target Areas: Arms, Shoulders

With feet should-width apart, raise your arms until they are parallel to the floor.

Rotate your arms in a full circular motion forwards and repeat ten times.

Return back to the starting position and this time rotate your arms in a full circular motion backwards.

Repeat ten times.

7. Alternating Toe Touches

toetouch

Target Areas: Lower Back, Quads

Start in a wide stance, with toes facing forward.

Hinge at the waist and reach your left arm towards your right toe. As you reach down soften the right knee.

Come up and reach your right arms towards your left toe, softening the left knee.

Repeat 10 times on each side.

8. Front Kick with Hand Reach

toetouchesstretch

Target Area: Legs and Hips

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Lift on leg up and reach for your toe with the opposite arm. Return to starting position and switch legs. Repeat each side 12 times.

Work towards actually touching your toe.

If you struggle with balance, you can do this exercise leaning against a wall.

9. Squat to Stand

squatstand

Target Areas: Hamstrings and Calves

Start in a squatted position, with your knees bent and hands at your feet. Raise up and straighten your knees, while still keeping your hands by your feet.

Repeat for 30 seconds.

10. Lunge with Torso Rotation

torsorotation

Target Areas: Quad, Glutes, Core

Step your right leg in front of you in a lunge position, and bring your hands together in front of you. Hold the lunge position and twist your torso to the right. Hold for 2-3 seconds, release, and repeat on the left.

Alternate each side 15 times.

11. Calf Stretch

calfstretch

Target Area: Calves

Stand facing a wall and place both hands against it.

Your body should be at a slight angle.

Bring your right heel off the ground, while pressing the left heel into the ground.

As you lower your right heel, bring your left heel up.

Continue this movement for 45 seconds.

12. Standing Side Bend

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Target Area: Abdominals

Stand up straight and place your right hand at your side. Lift your left arm above your head, lean and bend your torso over the right side until you feel a stretch.

Return to the starting position and quickly bend to the opposite side. Repeat 15 times on each side.

13. Standing Tricep Stretch

tricepstretch

Target Area: Tricep

Either sitting or standing, reach your left arm up and bend at the elbow, letting your hand drop to your shoulder blades. Using your right hand, press the left elbow down and hold for 2 seconds.

Release and repeat with your right arm.

Continue to alternate each side for 30 seconds.

14. Cat Cow Stretch

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Target Area: Lower Back

Get down on your hands and knees, and place your palms directly under your shoulders. Arch your back, pulling your belly button towards the floor, and look up. Hold for 2 seconds. This is cow position.

Pull your spine up towards the ceiling with your gaze dropping to the floor. Hold for 2 seconds. This is cat position.

Repeat each side 15 times.

15. Trunk Twists

trunktwists

Target Area: Lower Back

Place your arms across your chest, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width.

Slowly twist to on side, until you feel a stretch in your lower back.

Twist to the other side and repeat the motion for 30 seconds.

16. Knee Pulls

kneepullexercise

Target Area: Hips and Glutes

Stand up tall and bring your right knee up towards your chest. Wrap both hands around your knee and gently pull upwards.

Release and repeat with your left knee. Alternate knees for 30 seconds.

For additional balance support, lean your back against a wall.

17. Frog Stretch

olderadultfitness

Target Area: Groin

Get on your hands and knees, with your palms under your shoulders and knees as far apart from each other that still feels comfortable.

Rotate your feet outward so your toes are facing towards opposite walls.

Being to rock forward and backward as you left your weight shift back and forth.

Repeat for 30 seconds.

18. Standing Quad Stretch

olderadultexercise

Target Area: Quads

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring the left foot towards your buttocks, bending the left knee. Grab your left foot and pull inward. Hold for 2 seconds and release.

Grad the right foot and repeat exercise. Continue alternating sides for 30 seconds.

Place one hand against a wall for additional balance support.

Dynamic Stretching for Older Adults

Dynamic stretching may seem intimating at first but have no fear. Every exercise can be modified and adjusted to fit your pace and  fitness level.

Continued dynamic stretching as you age can

  • reduce risk of falling
  • help improve posture
  • enhance energy levels and blood flow
  • manage arthritis
  • decrease symptoms of disease

Stretching can help offset the normal decline of flexibility in your joints as you age.

If you are already physically active, remember that dynamic stretching helps prevent pulling a muscle and other injuries. Good luck and happy stretching!