Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Active Aging is a Bit of a Stretch

We participated in the annual Active Aging Health Fair today at the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego and are excited to share some of the information we learned from other vendors and experts.

Several booths focused on yoga, tai chi and other non-aerobic exercises that help with weight and stress management. As we age, if we don't ply our muscles, they will contract and result in poor posture and tightness that can make even easy moves -- like tying your shoe or putting on a pair of pants -- become difficult. Even if you have limited mobility, you and a loved one with dementia should be sure to incorporate stretching into your daily regimen. Here are some tips courtesy of the National Institute of Health:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and thick socks.
  • As you stretch, you shoulf feel a gentle pull or tug, not pain - which means you've stretched too far. Wait a day or two for the pain to subside before you try that stretch again.
  • You may feel some soreness following initial stretching sessions. It's normal.
  • Be sure to warm up, with something easy such as walking in place, before starting the stretches.
  • Stretch two or three times weekly and rest between workouts.
  • When you start, do each stretch once or twice and hold for a count of 5. Then work up to a count of 30.
  • After a few weeks, increase to each stretch to three or four times for a count of 30.
  • Finally, make your goal to do each stretch five times for a 30-count.

Changes will happen gradually, but you should notice results in 6 to 8 weeks. Be sure to also incoporate other activities such as walks and weights into your weekly workout plan.

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