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5 Best Stretches Seniors Should Do Daily

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in August of 2023. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkNcQTRCa0Y&t=322s

Brad: Alright, seniors, you've got pain in different parts of your body. We're going to show you a stretch routine that's going to help alleviate your pain.


Mike: So whether you're dealing with a history of pain or want to keep your body feeling younger, we have a stretch for you. So we've created a pain chart and if you're looking at it, you decide which stretches you need to do. So first, pick your problem area, and then next to it you can see which stretches you will need to perform to help fix this problem.

Brad: Now this will all make sense and it's going to be a customized exercise program for you. The example of Bob will make it very clear.


Mike: So let's look at Bob's pain. He was experiencing neck, upper trap, back, hip, and foot pain. So when Bob was experiencing neck pain, referencing the chart, he would choose the prayer stretch. For his foot pain, he would choose the calf stretch. So he decided to incorporate all six stretches into his routine and they worked wonders for his pain.

Brad: Now in your situation, you may only need to incorporate two or three of these stretches depending on the location of your pain related to the chart. All right, now we're going to show you all six stretches one at a time and explain which areas they're going to alleviate the pain with. The first one is the prayer stretch, and this is a really generalized stretch. It works out well for everything from headaches, and neck pain, to the shoulder, and the arm, as well as stretching out the back muscles, which will help the lower back, mid back, and down to the hip as well.

Mike: To perform the prayer stretch, you're going to start in a quadruplet position on all fours. I'm then going to sit my butt to my heels while keeping my hands pushing into the mat. Once I'm in this position, I'm going to stay here for two to three breaths, relax, and then return to the starting position. Now go down as far as you comfortably can. Your base as support with your feet may vary. I have my toes touching and my knees out wider. Your anatomy will dictate what is comfortable for you in this position.

Brad: Good. So we're going to get a good stretch here. You're going to keep your head in the neutral position. Don't sag it down too much or do not look up. And this is why it's such a nice stretch. We're stretching the hip, the muscles in the back, the shoulders, and as well as the upper traps and whatnot. It's a great stretch to work for many pain sources. Bob, does this one all the time. Now if getting on your hands and knees like that is a problem, simply use a chair at a cupboard or a tabletop. A smooth one is good. You'll sit with your arms out in front of you and slide your hands across the surface. You can put a towel underneath to make it a little easier and do the same stretch and then back up. Do that again for two to three breaths and repeat it as tolerated.

Brad: Stretch number two is going to help the shoulders. We call it the angel stretch and you'll see why. Okay, for this stretch, works best if you have a 6-inch diameter foam roller. It's 36 inches long. However, you can do it without a foam roller and simply on the floor.

Mike: To begin, place the foam roller at your belt line. Then I'm going to lie down on it. Now if your head can't touch the foam pad, or it's uncomfortable, you can place the pillow back there and that's perfectly acceptable. Now what I'm going to do is put my hands at my side. My thumbs are pointing up towards my head as I go up and lift, I try to keep my hands touching the ground. If you are like me, at some point you might start lifting your hands off the ground because I don't have that much range of motion in my shoulder. And then you're going to return back down. This is going to help teach your scapula to function properly and get your shoulder mechanics working again, which should help alleviate a lot of the pain you're experiencing.

Brad: Now, if you do have shoulder problems or this creates pain in one shoulder or the other, you're going to want to not do the stretch so aggressively. These should not create any sharp pain, just a simple stretch. So you may look like a snow angel with a broken wing.


Mike: Yeah, just go up as high as tolerated. If I can only go shoulder height, that's fine to start. Eventually, just try to work your way up more.


Brad: And stretch number three is a hip flexor stretch. It's a good stretch and it does cover a number of parts of the body, including the lower back, the hip, the IT band down into the knee as well as the foot and the ankle. Now this stretch is best performed in a firm bed or if you happen to have a massage table in your closet. But seriously, you can do it on a table or countertop if you can safely get on one and be comfortable.

Mike: So to perform this, my buttock is going to be towards the edge of the mat here. The closer it is to the edge, the more stretch you will feel in your hip flexor. I'm beginning with both knees to chest. This should feel good. I'm slowly going to lower one leg down off the edge of the mat while maintaining this knee to my chest. Once I'm here, I'm going to bend my left leg as far as I can. I'm starting to get a hamstring cramp now, so I'm not going to go any further than that. You're going to hold this for 30 seconds, then you're going to reset, back both knees to chest, and perform this on the opposite side. You can perform two to three repetitions with 30-second holds on each leg.

Brad: And just remember, while you're doing this, relax and breathe and allow the gravity to bring the leg down to stretch that hip out.


Mike: One thing I forgot to mention, as you're bringing this leg down, try to keep it in a straight line. You don't want to be too far out, especially if you have IT band syndrome.


Brad: All right, the next stretch is a calf stretch. It's a simple stretch and it's very direct. It does cover knee pain, calf pain as well as foot and ankle.

Brad: We're going to show you two versions of this. The simplest one, you simply take a wall, put your hands on the wall, take the foot that you want to stretch or the calf you want to stretch, and put it farthest behind like I am here. Make sure your to is pointed straight ahead like this, not like this. Straight ahead. Put your heel to the ground if you can, do the best you can, and lean forward with a straight knee here and then relax. Do that for five seconds or so. Flex the knee and stretch again. Trying to keep the heel on the floor. It stretches both muscles if most complete. Mike's going to show you a little bit more advanced level of stretching it and you'll see why.

Mike: For this variation of the calf stretch, you'll need to use some stairs. It's preferable if they do not have carpet as you do not want to slide off the step. To perform, I'm simply going to put the ball on my foot on the edge of the step and let my heels sink down to the floor. I'm holding onto both railings for support here. You can hold this for five, to 10 seconds. Go all the way up to 30 seconds, whatever feels good for you. If you want a little more of an advanced stretch on this, you can perform this with one leg only and you'll get even more stretched because all your body weight is going through that one calf. Don't overdo it, just do what feels good for you.

Brad: All right. Stretch number five is the booyah stretch. We'll show it in just a second. It covers the head for headaches, neck, upper trap, as well as shoulders. Now with this stretch, we call it the Booyah stretch because we use the Booyah Stik. You just need a stick, a doweling, a broom, a mop head, or something that's about 5 feet long and reasonably sturdy. And then you're going to use it in the same manner.

Mike: So the side that is painful, we'll say my right side, reach up your hand as high as you comfortably can with your palm facing away from you like this. Once I'm up here, I'm going to lean in this direction, keeping my hand in the same position. As I'm doing this, I'm feeling a good stretch through my shoulder as well as my back actually. And it just relieves all the tension up here, relieving some of your pain issues.

Brad: So you can do it in a seated position. Mike's doing it here on the table. It can be done in a chair. You put the stick on the chair. Or a standing position like I am. It works well. So do whichever feels better or what's more convenient. All right, the sixth and final stretch we're going to show is the rectus femoris, which is a muscle that goes from the kneecap or the patella all the way up to the front to the hip. A long thin muscle, but it has a lot of influence on pain and it's going to help reduce pain in the back, the hip, as well as the knee. So pay attention close to this one. It gets missed a lot.

Mike: There are numerous ways to perform a rectus femoris stretch. We're going to start with the basic one in a sideline position. So I'm going to be stretching my right leg here. On my left leg, I'm leaving my knee bent to feel a little more stable. If you're fine with it straight, you can certainly do that as well. Now what I'm going to do is clasp my hand around my ankle and I'm going to bring my hip back while bending my knee. So if I was way up in front of me, I'm not feeling a stretch. You want to keep your hip nice and straight, bring it back, and flex the knee. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds and you can perform two repetitions to three. Now, if I were going to do this on the other side, I would have to lay on my right side and pull my left leg back.

Brad: So the nice thing about this stretch, is you can do it on your bed or on the floor. The bed really works fairly well with this one. Sometimes it's too soft, but this is okay. You can do this standing and I'll show you that in a second. Now, standing is a very nice and convenient option. However, you really have to have good mobility and good balance. So you can put your hand on a cupboard or something to maintain balance. So you're going to go on one leg and grab the other ankle. Now I'm going to pull backward. Again, as my knee goes back, I feel that stretch. And you'll feel it from your hip down to your knee. Again, you can see why you need more mobility and good balance to be stable and safe with this. Make sure you do it on both legs. Hold, again for 15 to 30 seconds. That's your choice. Okay, there you have it. We've demonstrated all the stretches, and how to do them. Now again, to personalize this, only do the stretches for the parts and the body pain that you need, and they work out very well.

Mike: And if you want to check out more videos, you can stretch to check out our video "7 Experts Share The Best Stretches For Age 50+".



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