Morning Stretches for Older Adults
Completing your morning stretches is one of the best ways to get your body ready for the day. You can begin the stretching process while still laying down and work your way out of bed. That way you are slowly making the transition from a horizontal position to a standing vertical position. Instead of jerking out of bed and straining muscles in the process.
Having a morning stretch routine is an especially good practice for older adults. Once you’ve completed your routine for 21 consecutive mornings, you will have formed a very beneficial habit.
With this habit, you will be less likely to strain your muscles throughout the day, you will be able to gain more flexibility, and you also might even gain some strength back into the muscles you might not use as often anymore.
Beginning Morning Stretches
After you wake up, while you are still laying flat on your bed, complete these morning stretches, in this order.
- Lower Back/Hamstring Stretch
- Gluteus Maximus Stretch
- Spinal Twist Stretch
Lower Back/Hamstring Stretch:
Begin laying completely flat on your back. Then bring your right knee towards your chest. Grab your knee while interlocking your fingers and squeeze your knee tightly to your chest. Try holding this position for 10 seconds. From there, repeat the stretch on your left leg.
Gluteus Maximus Stretch:
Once you have released your left leg, bring both legs into a bent position. With knees at a shoulders width apart, lay you right foot across your left thigh. Interlock your fingers around your left knee and pull your knee towards your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Do the same on the other side as well.
Spinal Twist Stretch:
With your knees still in a bent position, bring them together, and lay your arms flat in a “T” like position. Using your hips, slowly roll your knees towards either side of your body back and forth a few times.
Sitting Up Morning Stretches
Once you have completed your stretches while laying down, transition into a sitting position on your bed. Then compete the stretches below, in order.
- Side Stretch
- Forward Crawl Stretch
- Hip Stretch
Make sure your legs are crossed underneath you. Interlock your fingers and face your palms outward. Bring your arms above your head. While keeping your bottom flush with the bed, lean directly to the left slightly to stretch your right side. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then return to the center. Repeat this stretch on the other side as well. For extra balance, place one hand on the bed.
After you have returned to the center, reach your hands out directly in front of your as far as your body will let you. Sit in this position to stretch out your lower back for a little while. Then, roll over onto your right forearm to stretch your lower side for 10 seconds. Bring your body back to the center position, then repeat the stretch on your left side.
Head towards the edge of your bed and let your legs dangle along side the bed. Bring your right foot over your left thigh, just like in the Gluteus Maximus stretch. Pull up on your knee for 10 seconds. Next, allow gravity to pull your right knee towards the ground so that you stretch your hip. Then, slightly lean forward to stretch even further if you can. After holding this position for 10 seconds, repeat on the other side.
Standing Morning Stretches
From your seated position on the edge of the bed, stand up into a completely upright position. Be sure not to jump up too quickly, as we do not want to strain any unstretched muscles. Complete the stretches below in order.
- Back Stretch
- Triceps Stretch
- Quadriceps Stretch
This stretch may seem basic, but it really is effective for stretching out your spine. While standing, place your hands on the backside of your hips with your fingers facing down. Then, slightly arch your back and look up towards the ceiling. You can either hold this position or return straight and do it over again.
Lift your right arm up towards your head as far as you can. Bend you elbow to where you hand falls behind your head. Take your left hand and grab your elbow and pull it further back. Once you feel the stretch working, hold that position for 10 seconds. Then repeat it on the other side.
This stretch requires some balance. So, before attempting this stretch, grab ahold of something sturdy. From there, bend your right leg to try and bring the heel of your foot to your bottom. With your right hand, grab you foot to hold it in place so that you stretch your quad. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
Do What You Can
Remember, if you have limitations, try not to over stretch the muscle. Over stretching can end up causing tears and strains in the muscle. If something disables you from completely the stretch accurately, try supplementing it with a different stretch.
Keep in mind, you’re stretching to help with your mobility throughout the day, not limit it even more. A few other, less strenuous stretches are ones involving the neck, ankles, and wrists. Also, you can always begin simple and slowly increase the difficulty of the stretch.