In the beginning there were - you guessed it -
Just like starting your car when it's cold to warm it up a bit before it's happy and ready to roll for you!
body is no different. Especially at our age. You need to wake up those
'resting' muscles and joints. Let them know you're taking them out to
play. Treat them nice and they'll treat you nice right back!
Unlike a car though you also need to 'cool down' your body after your walk. Please don't just plop down on the couch when you're done. They'll probably let you know they are not happy when you get up! Do the same stretches when you're done your walk!
Levels of Stretching Exercises
You'll find two groups of stretching exercises on this page. Start with the first group.
If the first group is a bit too challenging right now then skip down to Stretching Exercises For Seniors
When you feel good doing those, then come back to the first group and give these a try again.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you find you're not quite ready for either of these two groups right now, then please start with our Chair Exercises
They are a great way for you to start warming up very gently and let your muscles know it's time to start doing some stuff!
How Do I Stretch?
The best way is to start with an easy 5-minute walk before you stretch, stretch, walk and then cool down with a slower pace at the end of your walk.
For your stretches. work through these stretches. Do NOT bounce or hold your breath when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable. You will find as you hold a stretch that your body will be able to stretch a little farther. This is quite normal.
OK. Let's get started with ...
Five Easy Stretching Exercises
Reach one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your shoulders straight to the side.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Lean your hands on a wall with
your feet about 3 to 4 feet away from the wall.
Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight with your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg
Lean your back against a wall. Keep your head, hips, and
feet in a straight line.
Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Pull your right foot to your buttocks with your right
hand. Stand straight and keep your knee pointing straight to the ground.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your left foot and hand.
Sit on a sturdy bench or hard surface so that your left
leg is stretched out wiith your toes pointing up. Keep your
right foot flat on the floor.
Straighten your back, and if you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your right leg. If you do not yet feel a stretch, lean forward from your hips until you do feel a stretch.
*This section is courtesy of the Weight-control Information Network of the National Institute of Health, US Federal Government. You are welcome to download their pamphlet 'Walking: A Step In The Right Direction' that this was taken from. Right click on the link.
Great! You're done your warmup. How did the stretching exercises feel? Are your muscles awake now and ready to go? Excellent. Off you go then to your chosen Fitness Walking Program
Stretching Exercises For Seniors
Start here if you find the Five Easy Stretches For Seniors above a bit too much for you right now.
These basic chair exercises may look rather simple. Don't be fooled. They get the job done!
Even if there is little movement, stretching for seniors can help. It's all about getting them ready to do something they haven't done much of lately.
Try a slow, gentle walk for 5- 10 minutes. If this isn't possible, a warm bath can do the trick for you too! Who said this can't be fun!
that warming up is extremely important, especially as we get older. It
helps prevent injuries to your muscles and joints.
Try sitting down with another chair in front of you.
Put one leg up on that chair.
Lean forward and try to keep your back straight.
Go only as far as feels comfortable.
Don't push too hard or strain yourself.
Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat once or twice.
legs and repeat.
Sit and hold your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground, interlace your fingers with the palms facing each other and put your head down towards your arms.
Extend your arms further forward until you feel a stretch in your back. Go only as far as is comfortable for you.
Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat once or twice.
Sit down with your arms up over your head, fingers
interlaced and with your palms up*.
Slowly and gently lean to one side until you feel the stretch in your side. Don't over extend!
Hold for 10-20 seconds. Switch and do your other side. Repeat once or twice.
*If it's a little too hard for you to turn your hands so your palms are up here it is OK to interlace your fingers with the palms facing each other instead.
If you missed it up above and feel you could use a few more streches, why not head over to our fulll Chair Exercises page. That will really get you warmed up AND you can still stay seated!
You did it. That is super! How do you feel? Are your muscles a little more awake and ready? Great.
OK. Time to get back to your chosen Fitness Walking Program.
Keep up the great work!
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