As we age, maintaining flexibility and mobility becomes increasingly important for our overall health and well-being.
Assisted stretching, a practice that combines the expertise of a certified professional with targeted techniques, offers a multitude of benefits for individuals aged 50 and older.
In this post, I’ll help you explore the benefits of assisted stretching and explore how it can help you stay active, reduce the risk of injury, and improve your quality of life.
Table of Contents
What is Assisted Stretching?
Assisted stretching is a physical exercise that involves a certified professional or a partner applying gentle, controlled pressure to help you stretch your muscles beyond what you could achieve on your own.
This is a crucial distinction because assisted stretching differs from traditional stretching in that it requires an external force to support and guide the movement, allowing for a deeper and more effective stretch.
Benefits of Assisted Stretching for People Aged 50 and Older
- Improved flexibility and range of motion: As we age, our muscles and connective tissues naturally lose their elasticity, leading to a decrease in flexibility. Assisted stretching can counteract this by helping to lengthen tight muscles and improve joint mobility, making it easier to perform daily activities and maintain an active lifestyle.
- Reduced risk of injury and falls: Increased flexibility and range of motion can reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by muscle imbalances or overuse. Furthermore, assisted stretching helps enhance balance and coordination, which can minimize the risk of falls – a common concern for older adults.
- Enhanced balance and coordination: Assisted stretching targets specific muscle groups and stabilizing muscles, which play a crucial role in maintaining balance and coordination. As a result, incorporating assisted stretching into your routine can help you feel more confident and stable during everyday tasks and physical activities.
- Relief from muscle pain and stiffness: Muscle pain and stiffness can be particularly problematic for older individuals, often resulting from age-related changes, sedentary lifestyles, or chronic conditions. This is especially true for lower back and hip muscles.
- Improved circulation and cardiovascular health: The gentle movements involved in assisted stretching can stimulate blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. This increased circulation can support overall cardiovascular health and aid in the recovery process following exercise.
- Promotes mental wellbeing and stress reduction: Like other forms of physical activity, assisted stretching can release endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemicals – which can help improve mood, reduce stress, and promote a sense of well-being.
How to Get Started with Assisted Stretching
- Working with a certified professional: Seek out a certified stretching professional or personal trainer with experience in assisted stretching. They can assess your individual needs, teach you proper techniques, and provide the necessary support and guidance during your sessions.
- Assisted stretching classes and workshops: Many fitness centers, gyms, and wellness studios offer assisted stretching classes or workshops. These group settings can be an excellent opportunity to learn new techniques and receive expert guidance while connecting with others who share your interest in maintaining flexibility and health.
- Online resources and video tutorials: There are numerous online resources and video tutorials available that demonstrate assisted stretching techniques. While not a substitute for working with a certified professional, these resources can serve as a helpful introduction to the practice and offer guidance for performing assisted stretches at home.
Precautions and Safety Tips
- Consult with a healthcare professional before starting: Before embarking on any new exercise program, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.
- Start slow and listen to your body: Begin your assisted stretching journey with gentle stretches and gradually progress as your flexibility improves. Always listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself to the point of pain or discomfort.
- Importance of proper technique and form: To prevent injury and maximize the benefits of assisted stretching, it’s crucial to use proper form and technique. Working with a certified professional can help ensure you’re performing the stretches correctly and safely.
What To Do Next
Assisted stretching offers a wealth of benefits for individuals aged 50 and older, from improved flexibility and range of motion to reduced injury risk and enhanced mental well-being.
By incorporating this practice into your fitness routine, you can take a proactive approach to maintaining your health and enjoying a more active, fulfilling life.
With patience, dedication, and proper guidance, you can unlock the full benefits of assisted stretching and experience a healthier, happier you at 50 and beyond.
I look forward to meeting you again in my next post. ‘Til then, stay healthy and live fully!
Dr. Lex Gonzales, PT, DPT has been a physical/physiotherapist for over 24 years and is an award-winning author and keynote speaker. On drlexgonzales.com he provides quality information and practical solutions you can use to improve your health and function.