Basic and Vital Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Basic and Vital Stretching Exercises for Seniors Every Caregiver Must Know

As the year’s increase, our flexibility goes the other way. It becomes that much harder to reach for things, while muscle pain, strains, and discomforts occur with increasing frequency. To ensure fitness and preserve a greater range of mobility, it’s important that seniors stretch regularly. This will help ensure muscles get adequate blood flow to function superbly while preventing pain or injury when doing some heavy lifting among other strenuous activities. Without further ado, our senior care service was able to put together this list of the best stretching exercises for seniors that you should know. Feel free to borrow as many ideas as you can: 

1. Wall calf stretch

So how do you stretch after 60? It is still possible to improve the range of movement in the joints at any age so it’s never too late to start. One of the best stretching exercises over 60 is the wall calf stretch. It’s simple to perform, and easy on the joints but still gives your legs and knees some much-needed workout. 

Here’s how you go about this: 

  • Stand next to a wall, roughly a little less than one arm’s length away
  • Lean toward the wall with both palms of your hands pressed flat against the wall before you
  • Extend your left leg back while bending the other forward to support your body while leaning forward. Both feet should be flat against the ground
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds then repeat on the alternate side for another 30

According to findings from a 2016 IJHS report, working calve muscles has tremendous benefits for reducing single-leg imbalances.

2. Seated side stretch

This is particularly an excellent stretch to work your shoulders. It targets muscles in the ribs that control our breathing and overall ensure improved body support from either side. Assisted living communities often implore the seated side stretch for seniors who have mobility issues but would still like to benefit from stretching. 

The execution for this stretch is as follows: 

  • Sit down on a chair or on the floor. In the latter case, you want to keep your legs crossed and close to your body
  • Lean to one side of your body, while you bring the arm outside of the lean over your head. During this motion, you should be breathing in but exhaling as the stretch goes away from your body
  • Maintain this form for about 30 seconds then switch sides and repeat

3. Neck stretch

Around your neck area and across parts of your back and shoulders is the trapezius muscle. It is generally the focal point of movement as far as your torso, shoulders, arms, neck, and head are concerned. 

It is important to loosen the trapezius for pain relief and improved mobility. Here’s how to go about the neck stretch: 

  • Stand up straight, shoulder-width apart
  • Turn your head gently to one side, hold for a second or two then return to the center and repeat for the opposing side. Try to go the full 180-degree turn if possible
  • From the center, move your chin up to gaze at the ceiling, then drop into your chest to gaze at the floor. Do it gently and with reps of about 20 seconds for each neck stretch

4. Standing spine twist

The standing spine twist is highly recommended by our senior care service. It works wonders for pelvic stability and also bolsters trunk and spine muscles. Many studies find that aging often means that spinal flexibility takes a hit, and when that happens, it gets in the way of an older adult’s independence. 

To ensure that doesn’t happen, we recommend the standing spine twist which is performed as follows: 

  • Stand shoulder width apart and hold out your arms straight in front of you
  • Fold your upper arms (from your elbows forward) into each other such that the biceps are parallel to each other. Each folded arm should be at 90 degrees to its elbow
  • Swivel your upper body to one side, (try to remain static below your waist). Your head should follow the direction of the movement
  • Pause for 30 then return to the center and repeat for the remaining side. Try to alternate directions between reps.

5. Seated knee hugs

Seated knee hugs engage the core while also bringing your lower back and hip flexors into the action. It’s an excellent exercise to improve balance and stability, and here’s how to go about this exercise.

  • Sit on a chair with your back straight against its support
  • Hold your knee with both hands and bring it up then try to pull it into your body as much as you can with your hands
  • Let go of the knee and bring it back down, then repeat the same activity for your other leg. When not involved, try to keep each leg pressed flat against the floor

Once your senior gets the hang of things you can up the difficulty for even more wholesome benefits. Now, instead of doing them from a seated position try to carry out standing knee hugs to challenge the core further.

This marks the last exercise on our list but there are many more you could look into, such as the seated chest open, standing quadriceps stretch, hamstring stretches, and many more. That being said, if you’re on the hunt for a good community for your loved one with a focus on fitness and wholesome living, be sure to keep Lantern Lifestyle in mind the next time you look up senior living communities near meReach out to us if you’d like more tips on stretching exercises over 60.


Seniors tend to spend a lot of time sitting and generally lead a sedentary lifestyle. The result of this is increased tightness in the hamstrings, and hip flexors as well. In other words, too much sitting makes it harder to move your knees and hips due to accumulating muscle tension. It is therefore important that caregivers know and help those under their care keep up with stretches for elderly people to prevent this tightness and instead improve flexibility in the muscle fibers. Want more care tips for seniors? Check out our blog for more details on how you can help seniors under your care overcome common difficulties and live their best life.

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