If you are over 40, how and why should you stretch?
Updated: Feb 27
I was recently invited to contribute as an expert to and article on stretching for over 40s in SHE finds. Read on to find out what I shared.
My name is Dr Susan Baxter (PhD) and I work in fitness and health education for personal trainers and allied health professionals. I've helped over 500 with their health and fitness goals.
Here are my best reasons for stretching over 40
extra blood flow to the body
which will help you reduce chance of injury
Improved sense of mental health and stress reduction
Improvement of posture
Ability to continue to do your activities of daily living.
Here is what you need to stay more mobile:
Drink more water. Ligaments and muscles will tighten when they are even slightly hydrated. Remember to drink water throughput the whole day and not just in large portions.
Do exercises that will work on the opposite muscles to the ones that are tight so that your stretch lasts longer - such as glute bridges to help stretch the hip flexors.
Find more reasons to move during the day- getting up and down off the ground and finding ways to move in different directions.
The stretches that feel the most uncomfortable tend to be the ones we need the most.
Do 5 mins in the morning upon waking and right before bed in order to attach the habit to a Current one you already have.
The top 5 stretches I recommend are (photos attached but they are just from the internet- with more time I could take photos of this):
I have suggested these stretches as a counter balance to the poor posture people have for the day.
Thoracic spine for example can help people breathe more efficiently and therefore make you increase oxygen to the brain.
The first two will mean people have more chances to stand more balanced and not long term disengage their core (which would make them more likely to injure their back if they constantly are disengaging their core).
Chest stretch is important as a tight chest can lead to poor movement coupled with the tight thoracic spine leads to lower back pain.
Many people who find stretching easy are already too mobile and should instead focus on strength training to prevent osteoporosis later on.
Hope you find what I shared interesting! Feel free to reach out.