As we age, flexibility becomes more and more important.
Generally, flexibility decreases as we get older. Stretching all of the major muscle groups can help prevent injury, reduce muscle soreness, and help with body posture. You should stretch every day.
Dynamic (continually moving) stretches are recommended during the warmup to build range of motion prior to more intense activity. Static stretching is recommended at the end of a workout session during the cool-down (ACSM, 2009). The following pages provide examples of warm-up (dynamic) and cool-down (static) stretches.
DYNAMIC STRETCHES FOR THE WARM-UP
Roll your arms backwards from the shoulder starting with small circles and gradually making the circles bigger, but still controlled. Roll your arms the opposite direction. Perform about 10-15 circles in each direction. Stretches the chest, biceps, shoulders, and upper back muscles.
Keeping the back straight and chest lifted, gently swing one leg upward so that it is parallel with the ground. Reach the opposite arm towards the leg as you lift it. Repeat on the other side as you walk forward like Frankenstein’s monster.
Start slowly and increase the speed of the swing as you get warmer. Walk about 30 feet. Stretches the hamstrings.
Standing tall, bend the leg at the knee and grab onto your foot. Squeeze your gluteal muscles as you hold onto your foot. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then switch. Repeat 8-12 times on each leg. Stretches the quadriceps and hip flexors
Keeping the feet wide and chest lifted, lunge from side to side. Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes as you lunge. Perform this exercise 15-20 times on each side. Stretches the adductors and groin.
Knees to chest
Standing tall, lift your leg and hug your shins, pulling your leg towards your chest. Alternate legs while walking forward. Perform this stretch 10-15 times with each leg. You can also perform this exercise on your back. Stretches your gluteal muscles and lower back.
Perform a walking lunge exactly as you would during resistance training. Step forward with one foot, and lower down so that the front leg makes no less than a 90 degree angle. Remember the goal of this exercise is to stretch, so do not feel you have to go as deep as you normally might.
Squeeze through your gluteal muscles to fully extend the hips. Continue walking forward by pushing off your back foot and stepping through.
Change this exercise by twisting your upper body towards the front leg or extending slightly through your back with your arms overhead as you lunge.
Walk about 30 feet. Stretches the hip flexors.