Many commonly performed stretches become difficult or impossible to access as our knees or backs cease to bend as we get older. So we stop keeping these essential areas of the body mobile. In time this will impact on many factors of daily life. The three stretches below are versions that should be accessible to everyone. Use props where needed.
- Move into each stretch slowly & smoothly.
- When you reach the limit of your flexibility, settle there and breathe.
- If the particular stretch requires nothing more, then relax there for longer than 30 seconds and simply breathe.
- Pay attention to ‘how’ you should unfold from the stretch and keep this smooth and slow.
Quad stretch – for tight thigh muscles and/or painful knees.
If the regular standing version of a quad stretch is not possible for whatever reason, try this floor version.
If reaching your ankle is difficult you will need to have a strap/belt/tie to assist.
If getting on the floor is difficult, do it on your bed (without a pillow under your head).
Keeping your quad muscles stretched (long) will help if you have any knee aches or pains : the longer the quad muscles the less stress will be put on the knee/s joint/s.
Use the video link below to guide you into and out of the stretch. Do this daily, but don’t do the ‘contractions’* every day.
Add in the ‘contractions’* twice a week.
The first ‘contraction’ is where you attempt to gently straighten the leg but do not move, breathing out over a count of 5.
The second ‘contraction’ is gently attempting to press the thigh flesh (near the knee) into the floor. Again no visible movement.
Now slowly pull the foot closer to the buttock. A strong stretch should be felt in the quad muscle. Back off if there is any pain felt in the knee joint. Stay there at least a minute – breathing.
Allow the foot to return to the floor very slowly.
Lower back and hamstrings stretches – seated version.
Very safe and easily accessible method, especially if getting onto the floor is difficult. Perform daily.
Lower back and hamstrings stretches – seated progression
Very safe and easily accessible method, especially if getting onto the floor is difficult.
This repeats the lower back stretch with less props being demonstrated.
What follows is the twice weekly progression where a couple of ‘contractions’ are done to help lengthen the hamstrings.
You will need your chair on a wooden or tiled floor to be able to push it backward a small amount after the contraction as shown in the video.
I have taught this version to hundreds of over 70’s for nearly two decades now and it remains my favourite way to stretch these two important areas.
All these can be done first thing in the morning while you are still warm from being asleep. The daily seated versions can even be done sitting on the edge of the bed! Make them part of your daily routine.