A 5-Minute Stretch Routine Older Adults Can Do Every Day

You can do these total-body stretches each day for improved mobility.
Image Credit: AaronAmat/iStock/GettyImages

Stretching can feel like a chore. It's not necessarily strenuous or exhausting, yet few people look forward to their post-workout or mid-day stretch (and kudos to those who do).

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But stretching is a crucial practice to improve your range of motion and help prevent injury, especially as you get older, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a California-based strength coach. All you need is a few feet of space, five minutes and some consistency to benefit from this age-friendly daily stretch routine.

1. Overhead Reach to Fold

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Skill Level All Levels
Time 1 Min
Activity Stretching
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly sweep your hands over your head, reaching for the ceiling.
  3. Take a few deep breaths here.
  4. Reverse the motion and reach for your toes with a generous bend in your knees.
  5. Take a few deep breaths here.

2. Neck Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Time 1 Min
Activity Stretching
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Reach your right arm over your head, placing your right hand on your left ear.
  3. Tilt your head to your right shoulder, gently pulling your head to your right.
  4. When you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck (don't stretch to the point of pain), pause and breathe deeply.
  5. After 30 seconds, repeat on the opposite side.

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3. Lumbar Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Time 1 Min
Activity Stretching
  1. Lie on your back on the floor or a bed. You can use an exercise mat for additional padding between you and the ground.
  2. Keep your legs out straight, arms at your sides.
  3. Inhale and pull your left knee into your chest, keeping the rest of your body in place.
  4. Hold here for 30 seconds.
  5. Return back to the starting position, then switch legs.

4. Calf Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Time 1 Min
Activity Stretching
  1. Stand about a foot from a wall, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your left foot in place, place your right toes on the wall, heel on the ground.
  3. Lean forward gently.
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Tip

The closer you bring your heel to the wall, the deeper the stretch in your calf, Araujo says. As your muscles adjust, deepen the stretch gradually.

5. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Time 1 Min
Activity Stretching
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your right foot planted, step your left foot several feet back.
  3. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees.
  4. Tuck your pelvis slightly.
  5. Pause here and breathe deeply for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tip

Do this stretch near a chair or counter top if you need a little extra help balancing, Araujo says. "You don't need to bend your knee to 90 degrees, either," she says. "Only go as far as is comfortable, deepening the stretch gradually as your muscles loosen up."

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