It is important that all elderly people who are capable of doing so take the time to exercise. If your loved one is living in a nursing home, they should have access to a gym and a personal trainer. Nursing home residents should preform stretching and range of motion exercises. This can make sure that they stay healthy and active. Consider the following stretching tips to make sure that your loved one’s physical health is being looked after in their nursing home.
Static vs. Dynamic Stretches
There are two major types of stretching that your loved one should have access to in a nursing home: static and dynamic. Static stretches attempt to create lasting length of muscles. You can work on static stretches by holding a stretch for a long period of time, for example, static stretches generally last for 10-30 seconds each. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, attempt to increase range of motion. Dynamic stretches last for shorter periods of time and generally include more movement. An example of a static stretch is the butterfly stretch. You are sitting on the ground for this stretch and you hold your legs for 10 or more seconds. An example of a dynamic stretch would be a soldier kick, which involves standing and kicking one leg into the air. This is a quicker stretch that involves more movement.
A doctor should determine the range of motion that your loved one has so that they know what stretching is safe to do. For some elderly people, static stretching is the safest form of stretching. For others, dynamic stretching is an option.
Upper Body Stretching
There are many different types of upper body stretches. A few static stretches include:
- Holding your arm across your body for several seconds and stretching with other arm.
- Holding your arm above your head for several seconds and stretching with other arm.
- Clasping hands behind back and raising for several seconds.
A few dynamic upper body stretches include:
- Shoulder rolls, which is a shrugging motion that works the range of motion of a person’s shoulders. This can be done repeatedly or for a certain number of reps.
- Neck rolls, which are similar to the shoulder roll, but it focuses on the range of motion of the neck.
- Arm circles, which can be done by raising your arms near your sides and making small circles in the air.
Lower Body Stretching
I’ve already given some examples of lower body stretching, but a few more include:
- Lunges. This is a dynamic stretch that involves taking a step and bending the front knee until the back knee is close to the ground.
- Calf stretches, which can be done sitting on the ground. This static stretch involves reaching a hand out toward one’s foot. This can improve flexibility and stretch the calve muscles.
These are just a few examples of stretches that most elderly people should have the ability to perform, and ones that assistance should be offered for in your loved one’s nursing home. For more information, you should talk to a doctor.