Losing mobility with age is unavoidable, but your daily habits throughout life can go a long way toward preventing your physical decline as you age. One of the most common postural issues is known as kyphosis or hunchback posture. We spend a lot of time sitting in our modern lives which often leads to our heads slumping forward, and extra strain becomes placed on your neck.
To make changes to your posture, you should try to include a stretching routine into your daily habits. The older you get, the more essential it becomes to stretch so that you don’t lose your ability to perform daily tasks.
Neck Side Stretch
This stretch is great for opening up your neck and shoulders but is gentle enough that there is a low risk of injury.
- Sit with good posture in a chair with your right hand on the left side of your head by your ear.
- Pull your head to the right gently until you feel a mild stretch down your neck and into your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds
- Repeat on the other side.
This stretch is excellent for regaining spinal extension that often becomes lost from sitting. Like the neck side stretch, it’s relatively gentle and poses a low risk for injury.
- Stand tall with your hands on your hips and your feet shoulder width apart.
- Look toward the ceiling and bend backwards from the waist as far as comfortable. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Repeat for 10-20 reps.
The cat-cow pose is a yoga position that helps you regain both spinal flexion and extension. A key point to keep in mind for this stretch is to keep your spine neutral so don’t bend from the neck.
- Get onto the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Push your belly down and arc your spine downward so that your head is staring straight ahead. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Arc your spine in the opposite direction so that you’re looking toward your knees.
- Repeat each motion ten times.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
When you sit for a prolonged period, your hips are in a shortened position. This kneeling hip flexor stretch helps to bring your hip muscles back to their original length.
- Kneel on the floor or on a yoga mat.
- Step your right foot forward with your sole flat on the floor and your right knee at a 90-degree angle.
- Bring your hips forward with your abs engaged until you feel a stretch in your hip.
- Hold for a minute on each side, breathing through the stretch and deepening it as your hip loosens.
This lateral stretch helps you regain mobility needed for reaching activities by loosening the lateral muscles of your back and shoulders.
- Stand tall with your weight evenly distributed between your two feet.
- Reach your right arm as high as you can
- Bend your torso away so that you feel a stretch in your side.
- Hold for five seconds and perform ten reps on each side.
To help slow the ageing process and to maintain a healthy lifestyle later in life, make stretching a part of your daily routine. Whenever you spend extra time sitting, like during long drives, you should spend extra time stretching to undo the stiffness.
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