By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
Often when people think about fitness they think about cardio or strength training. However, stretching can be as beneficial to your health as other forms of exercise. We engage in activities every day that tighten our muscles, but stretching does more than relieve tight muscles and improve flexibility. According to Wexner Medical Center, stretching can help remove carbon dioxide, ammonia, and uric acid from your muscles, as well as increase blood flow, oxygen levels, and the delivery of nutrients to your muscles.
For mobility, some key areas to stretch are the muscles in your legs, like your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps, reports Harvard Health Publishing. Ensuring that you are stretching properly is as important as taking the time to stretch regularly. One stretching resource I have found very useful is Ask Doctor Jo. Doctor Jo is a physical therapist who shares helpful stretches and exercises on her website and YouTube channel free of charge.
Dr. Jo has a whole series of office stretches that you can do without any equipment to help improve mobility and prevent injuries from prolonged sitting. If you are dealing with a specific health condition like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, Dr. Jo has compilations of specific stretches and exercises that can be helpful. Here are a few stretching and exercise compilations by Dr. Jo you may enjoy:
Knee Osteoarthritis Stretches and Exercises
Hand Arthritis Stretches and Exercises
Hip Arthritis Stretches and Exercises
Rotator Cuff Stretches and Exercises
It is always important to talk to your doctor about stretching and exercising so you don’t make a health condition or injury worse. Regular stretching can help prevent many injuries and alleviate pain. Try adding a short stretching session to your daily routine to help improve your mobility and prevent injuries!
Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.