5 Best Stretches and Mobility Exercises To Improve Range of Motion and Reduce Aches and Pain as You Age

Flexibility exercises and range of motion
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Flexibility and mobility exercises are an important part of healthy living, but it becomes even more vital after you hit 60. 

Many people start to develop joint pain after the age of 60. This occurs as a result of many different issues.

For one thing, osteoarthritis, or a wearing down of the joints, tends to develop in this period of life. 

Also, many older adults are plagued by an issue known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a condition that is hotly debated. 

Some people think it isn’t an actual phenomenon, while others swear that it’s an inevitable consequence of aging. But suffice it to say, sarcopenia essentially boils down to the fact that most older adults lose muscle mass as they age.

Of course, there are tons of other reasons why older adults might suffer from bodily aches and pains. Many more than we could possibly list in this post!

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to alleviate the achiness associated with the latter portion of our lives. One great way to do so is to exercise. Specifically, stretching and flexibility exercises can go a long way to improving soreness throughout the body.

In this article, I’ll review some of the best stretches for relieving body-wide pains characteristic of our senior years.

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5 Best Best Flexibility and Mobility Exercises to Improve Range of Motion

Best Flexibility and Mobility Exercises

Standing Side Bends

Standing Side Bends

This stretch is a great one for the morning. It opens up your spine to a high degree and allows you to have an unrestricted, pain-free motion for the rest of the day.

How to Perform

  • Start standing, with your feet spaced about hip-width apart.
  • Place your left hand on your left hip/waist area, and raise your right hand up over your head.
  • Lean as far as you can toward the left, reaching your right hand further over your head at the same time.
  • Once you’ve gone as far as you can, hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides. 
  • Complete 4 sets on each side, 4-5 times per week.

Pigeon Stretch

Pigeon Stretch

Many times, when people think of stretching, they immediately jump to yoga poses. The pigeon stretch is one of the best yoga poses for hip flexibility and mobility. 

However, you should be careful with this exercise on your first try, as it can be very intense. If you feel pain due to the intensity of this stretch, feel free to pad up your knees, hips, and other areas with towels in order to increase your comfort.

How to Perform

  • Start with your hands and knees on the ground.
  • Next, place your right knee between your hands and turn your ankle so that it is close to your left hand.
  • Then, slide your left knee backward slowly.
  • Once you feel a deep stretch in your right hip, hold this position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this stretch 4 times on each side, 4-5 times per week.

Supine Hamstring Stretch

Supine Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are tight on nearly everyone. This muscle is used a lot throughout the day, and our largely sedentary lifestyles often make this stiffness even worse.

By simply lying down and stretching out these tight bands a few times a week, many people will begin to feel their back pain and other pains begin to fade away!

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back with your legs out straight
  • Next, lift your right leg up towards the ceiling and place both hands behind your right thigh.
  • Then, pull gently on your leg, increasing the hamstring stretch.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times on each side. 
  • Complete the supine hamstring stretch 4-5 times per week.

Bridges

Bridges

Bridges come up a lot on lists of best exercises. This is because bridges are one of the best exercises you can do, hands down!

This exercise is easy to learn, easy to progress, and safe for almost everyone.

How to Perform

  • Lie flat on your back, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Press your heels into the floor and lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 4-5 times per week.

Upward Dog

Upward Dog

Last but not least, we have another great yoga stretch.

The upward dog is a terrific stretch for the spine, hip flexors, and abs. This move forces you into deep spinal extension. As a result, this is a commonly prescribed stretch for many forms of back pain.

How to Perform

  • Lie flat on your stomach, with your feet close together.
  • Next, place your hands on the ground and push up, keeping your hips on the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times per session.
  • Complete 4-5 sessions per week.

The Bottom Line

Old age comes for all of us, but we don’t have to take it lying down!

By performing the above stretches on a regular basis, you can bulletproof your body to help you withstand the aches and pains characteristic of old age. Try this routine out today!

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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