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Invigorate Your Mornings with a Mild Stretch Routine for Seniors, Customized to Foster Movement and Vitality

If you rise in the morning feeling inflexible, tense, and lethargic, a few gentle stretching and movement could be just the thing you need to initiate your day positively. Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club has got you covered with a fresh video showcasing morning stretches specifically tailored for seniors.

Stretching in the morning is a natural approach to awaken your body. Babies and dogs instinctively stretch their bodies when they wake up, and this is known as “pandiculation.” It aids in transitioning the body from a resting state to an active state by enhancing nervous system arousal and focus.

As we age, stretching may not come as easily as it did when we were younger. It’s necessary to approach stretching differently and concentrate on stretches that aid in enhancing range of motion and posture for your preferred activities. A complete body stretching routine can also have a positive impact on your overall health. Holding the stretches for an extended period of time may be crucial to fully open up the muscles and joints.

In this 19-minute video, Crunch group fitness instructor Liz Fichtner leads you through a sequence of morning stretches for seniors. Fichtner emphasizes the importance of taking your time and maintaining the poses for as long as is comfortable for you. The routine comprises seated floor exercises, arm circles, side bends, twists, and folds, as well as stress-relief techniques for the wrists and neck. It concludes with a gentle yoga flow and a relaxation pose called savasana.

To follow the routine, you can either view the video or refer to the instructions provided below.

A 20-minute Morning Stretches for Seniors Routine

Format: Stretching and mobility exercises done seated, standing, on hands and knees, and lying down

Equipment needed: A yoga mat or similar surface to lay on, and something comfortable to sit on like a pillow or yoga block

Who is this for?: Seniors who want to incorporate movement into their mornings

Moves 1-11 are performed in a supported cross-legged position

1. Seated Breathing Exercise

  1. Sit on a pillow or yoga block with legs crossed
  2. Breathe deeply and elongate your spine
  3. Repeat for 30 seconds

2. Arm Circles

  1. Stretch your arms above your head and interlock your fingers
  2. Bring your joined arms forward and round your spine as you push your palms forward
  3. Release your arms to the sides
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds

3. Side Bends

  1. Elevate one arm up and over your head, inclining towards the opposite side
  2. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating for 30 seconds

4. Side Bend Look-Ups

  1. While in the side bend stance, look up and expand your shoulder
  2. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating for 30 seconds

5. Twists

  1. Raise both arms above your head
  2. Rotate your trunk to the right, bringing your front hand to the opposite knee and your back hand to the ground
  3. Revert to the center and repeat on the other side
  4. Keep alternating for 30 seconds

6. Twist and Holds

  1. While in the twist pose, twist your trunk further and maintain briefly
  2. Repeat on the other side

7. Forward Fold

  1. With your hands raised above your head, bend forward and place your hands on the ground
  2. Walk your hands to one side, hold, then walk them to the other side

Change the cross of your legs, bringing the opposite foot on top

8. Neck Stretches

  1. Elaborate your neck and create space between your neck and shoulders
  2. Tilt your head to the side for a stretch, and raise your arm on the stretched side
  3. Create a fist and rotate your wrist, then release
  4. Repeat on the other side

9. Neck Circles

  1. Lower your chin to your chest and gently sway your head from side to side
  2. Elevate your head using your thumbs underneath your chin
  3. Make complete circles with your head, changing direction at the apex of each circle
  4. Return to a neutral position
  5. Bring your head forward, then draw your chin back into your neck

10. Shoulder Rolls

  1. Position your hands on your shoulders with elbows bent and projecting in front of you
  2. Unfurl your elbows to the side, lift them up, retract them, and return to the front

11. Wrist Stretches

  1. Extend your arms in front of you with palms facing upwards
  2. Pull your fingers downward with the opposing hand to stretch your wrists
  3. Repeat on the other side
  4. With palms facing downwards, clench your fist and rotate your wrists sideways

12. Leg Lifts on Hands and Knees

  1. Assume the hands and knees position
  2. Extend one leg straight back with your toes on the floor
  3. Raise the leg parallel to your hips, then lower it down
  4. Repeat on the other side
  5. Repeat the movement, but also lift the opposite arm when you raise the leg
  6. Repeat on the other side
  7. Transition into a downward dog pose with bent knees, then gradually stand up

13. Standing Side Bend

  1. Stand upright and raise your arms above head
  2. Grasp your wrist with the opposite hand and incline to the side as you pull your wrist
  3. Repeat on the other side

14. Sun Salutation

  1. From standing with your hands above your head, bend over and let your hands rest naturally
  2. Place your hands on your shins or thighs and straighten your back parallel to the floor
  3. Bend forward and rise back up into standing
  4. Repeat
  5. Add a twist: At the top of the pose, twist over one shoulder with your back arm behind you and front arm in front of you to open your chest to the side
  6. Perform the twist on the other side, then execute the sun salutation again

15. Vinyasa

  1. Assume a modified plank pose with knees on the ground
  2. Curve your elbows directly back as you lower down onto your stomach
  3. Elevate your head, neck, and shoulders into a baby cobra
  4. Lower back down and push back into a child’s pose

16. Hip Stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you
  2. Gradually bend your knees with feet on the floor and cross one ankle over the opposite knee
  3. Hold, then repeat on the other side

17. Spinal Twists

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
  2. Lower your knees together to one side
  3. Revert to the center and repeat on the other side

18. Savasana

  1. Lie flat on your back with arms extended to the side and relax your feet
  2. Breathe deeply for one minute


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