quad stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Quad Stretch (Front of thigh) — Stand up straight and tilt pelvis forward. Keep the knee down and lean only as far back as you can still relax.

We all know exercise and staying active plays a big role on how we age, but a lot of us forget about the importance of stretching and staying flexible. Tight short muscles create muscle imbalances, which leads to loss of function and range of joint motion. Not to forget the aches and pains that goes along with it. Tasks that used to be simple like reaching for something in the cabinet, putting on your seat belt, or even putting on a sock become extremely difficult or impossible. A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily activities so much easier and manageable.

hip flexor stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Hip Flexor (Front of hip) — Kneel on a pad or pillow. Bring one leg forward; enough to keep your knee behind your toes. Press the opposite hip to the floor.

Anyone can learn to stretch regardless of age or flexibility. There are simple stretches you can do on a daily basis while watching television at the computer or before you get out of bed. It feels good and doesn’t have to involve a huge time commitment, but can deliver huge results!

Here are just a few of the benefits of stretching you can expect.

  • Increased flexibility, improves function, balance and coordination, lowering your risk for falls.
  • Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles and arteries to give you more energy and lower blood pressure.
  • Reduced muscle tension reduces stress so you feel more relaxed.
  • Less prone to injury and muscle strains.
  • Better posture helps to minimize discomfort of aches and pains.
  • Develops body awareness. As you stretch you focus on that particular part of your body you become more in touch with yourself. It is a form of active meditation for a better sense of well being.


calf stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Calf / Achilles Tendon — Only step as far back as you can. Keep your back heel on the floor.Stretching your calves keeps your ankle joint functioning.

Muscles stretch easier if you warm up first. You can do a 5 minute walk making sure to move your arms, or even taking a warm shower. If you do strength training, stretch between sets. It is particularly important not to sit for more than an hour at a time without getting up and stretching!

hamstring stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Hamstring (Back of leg) —Keep your chest up and reach forward. You can also lay on your back and wrap a towel or rubber tubing around your foot and hold.

Begin a stretch by holding it for 10–30 seconds to where you feel a mild tension. More is not better when comes to stretching. Find the degree of comfortability, then relax into it. Slight discomfort is okay, providing it starts to subside as you hold your pose. Don’t bounce, that can cause tears which can lead to scar tissue and tighter muscles.

Your breathing should be slow and controlled. Deep breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. That sends a signal to the brain to relax and to allow your muscles to lengthen.

If you cannot relax then you’re trying to hard. Ease up slow and start again. Breath and relax.

Make stretching part of your daily activities, you’ll feel better and your body will love it!

hipe and lower back stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Hip and Low Back — On your back and pull your bent knee across your body. Look the opposite direction. Keep your arm on the floor. Repeat with otherside.


inner thigh stretch - Generations Magazine - February-March 2013

Sissor Inner Thigh — Sit up tall and sissor your legs. With your hands behind your back you will also feel a stretch in your forearms and chest.

Photos by Kathy Boast