Children and young adults can go from sitting still to running full speed in an instant and it does not seem to hurt them in any way. This is an ability that we may lose as we age. Even so, it is highly recommended for us to warm up before we perform any heavy exercises, and warming up stretching for older adults is even more crucial to help prevent injuries.
Warm Up Exercises for Older Adults
A good warm up involves more than just doing stretching. We need to get our lungs and hearts going too. We need to warm up our body temperature and loosen our muscles and a couple of the most effective warm up exercises can help us to achieve them. Walking briefly or marching in place while swinging the arms are a couple of warm up exercises that are the most effective. However, the ideal warm up routine needs to include movement across every part of our body as well as a few stretches. Preferably, the routine should last 10 to 15 minutes which is long enough for us to break a sweat and get our muscles ready.
Benefits of Warm Up Exercises for Older Adults
The most significant reason for warm up exercises is basically to prevent injury. Stretching out muscles that are cold abruptly can cause injury and as we age, our bodies need a little more time to get it prepared for heavy movements. Stretching makes our muscles more supple and with a little cardio, our heart rate will increase and so will our blood flow which will supply more oxygen to our muscles, improving their efficiency rate.
Best Warm Up Exercises for Older Adults
- Shoulder Rolls: Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and lift up your shoulders to roll them forward all the way in a circular motion.
- Shoulder Squeezes: Stand up straight with your arms on your sides and bend your elbows 90 degrees with your forearms directly in front. Pull your arms and elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades.
- Neck Stretches: Stand straight with your arms on your sides and slowly bend your neck backward. Bring your neck to the front until you are looking at your feet.
- Leg Swings: Balance yourself with your left hand and place your palm flat on a desk or against the wall. Swing your right leg forward and kick as high as possible without moving the left side of your body or losing balance.
- Seated Ankle Circles: Sit up straight in a chair. Extend or cross your right leg as long as it is off the ground. Proceed to make circles with your ankle and ensure the rest of your leg is as still as possible.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch: Sit straight in a chair and flatten your feet onto the floor, shoulder-width apart. Extend out your right leg and straighten your knee while your heel is resting on the floor. Rest your hands on your thighs and slide them down your leg until you feel a stretch.