13 Stretching Exercises to Stay Active and Engaged in Retirement

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Over time, a lot of seniors face challenges with maintaining their mobility and flexibility due to deteriorating joints and weakening muscles. However, getting older doesn’t necessarily mean being out of shape or neglecting your body.

For seniors, maintaining regular engagement in physical activities is extra important, as it is one of the highly-recommended ways to promote healthy aging and more.

Stretching has been proven to provide many health benefits for seniors beyond warming up the body before exercise. It supports seniors in achieving a full range of motion while doing their day-to-day activities without the risk of getting hurt or falling, which can be especially helpful for those with a sedentary lifestyle.

By making these exercises a part of your parents’ routine, they can remain mobile and live a happier, healthier life while minimizing the impact of aging. Discover our top 13 best stretching exercises for seniors, the advantages of stretching for overall health, and some tips to get your parents started with stretching.


The 13 Best Stretching Exercises for Seniors to Enhance Flexibility and Mobility

Health Benefits of Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Stretching is essential for various reasons. It helps seniors maintain their posture, control their sense of balance, and experience a wide range of motion while performing everyday activities, mainly if they live alone. It also reduces their odds of injury and muscle soreness. Other significant health benefits of stretching for seniors include the following:

  • Alleviate arthritis pain
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Improve flexibility and circulation
  • Decrease pain and discomfort
  • Improve balance
  • Enhance mobility
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Reduce lower back pain
  • Improve poor posture
  • Foster feelings of relaxation
  • Increase stamina
  • Reduce the risk of falling
  • Control stress and anxiety
  • Improve walking speed
  • Improve blood flow and energy levels
  • May help reduce stiffness in blood vessels and arteries


Tips to Get Seniors Started with Stretching

Senior health experts encourage seniors to engage in mild to moderate or light-intensity exercises at least two to three times a week to ensure optimal results when maintaining mobility and improving overall wellness.

While incorporating stretching exercises into your parents’ routine as soon as possible is a must-do, remind them to start at a lower pace and avoid overexerting themselves. Begin with small numbers of stretches and take a rest in between as needed.

Consider touching base with a qualified professional to determine what stretching exercises are the most appropriate for your parents’ physicality.

Some more helpful tips to get your parents started with stretching include:

  • Always warm up before stretching.
  • Dress in breathable garments or clothes.
  • Do not bounce while stretching.
  • Stop stretching if feeling discomfort or pain.
  • Take slower, deep breaths while stretching.
  • Let muscles relax after 2-3 exercises.
  • Drink plenty of water during and after stretching.


13 Stretching Exercises for Seniors

12Oaks-Elderly Woman Stretching Outdoor-Canva-13 Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Let us delve into some of the best stretching exercises for seniors to improve their mobility, flexibility, and muscle longevity.


Neck Stretch


  • Sit on a chair upright with feet flat on the floor.
  • Move your shoulders backward and gaze ahead.
  • Place your right hand underneath your right thigh or grab the chair seat.
  • Pull your head to the left side with your left hand.
  • Gently stretch your neck by pressing your head.
  • Keep the neck straight, and avoid tilting your head or tucking your chin.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  • Rest and repeat on the other side.
  • Do this five times.


Wall Calf Stretch


  • Stand facing the wall at arm’s length.
  • Place your hands flat against the wall.
  • Step forward with your left foot.
  • Keep your back straight while leaning your hip forward against the wall.
  • Slightly bend your left leg to the wall until you feel a light stretch down the right leg.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat on the other leg.
  • Do this five times.


Shoulder Stretch


  • Position yourself upright on a chair with two feet flat on the ground.
  • Reach your left arm to the right side across the body.
  • Place your right hand on the elbow and gently pull it to the right.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat the same process for the other side.
  • Do this five times.


Overhead Side Stretch


  • Sit upright on the chair with two feet flat on the ground.
  • Raise your left hand and gently bend your torso to the right.
  • Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat the same stretch on the other side.
  • Do this 10-15 times.


Chest Stretch


  • Position yourself on a chair, a sofa, or a bed.
  • Grab two ends of the resistant band and gently spread your arms apart.
  • Extend your arms to stretch your chest muscles.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Do this 10-15 times.


Tricep Stretch


  • Sit on the chair with flat feet on the floor and relax your shoulders.
  • Raise your left hand overhead.
  • Bend your left arm and touch the right shoulder or the neck with the left palm.
  • Place your right hand on the left elbow.
  • Gently press the left elbow to the right to stretch the triceps (upper arm).
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat on the other side.
  • Do this five times.


Back Stretch


  • Stand on firm ground with both hands placed on your hip.
  • Gently bend backward while keeping your head looking ahead.
  • Stay in the position for 5 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat the process another five times.


Ankle Stretch


  • Sit upright in the chair.
  • Grab the edges of the chair seat for extra support.
  • Stretch one leg to the front and slowly lift your leg off the ground.
  • Make sure the foot is at a lower level than your knee.
  • Gently move your foot side to side and up and down.
  • Hold each position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Retrieve your leg to the starting position and repeat the same process for the other leg.


Seated Knee-To-Chest


  • Sit upright on a chair and grab the seat of the chair.
  • Slowly raise your leg until the knee is close to the chest.
  • Gently raise your knee to the chest until you feel some stretching.
  • Keep the position for 10-30 seconds once feeling the stretching sensation.
  • Gently lower your leg back down and repeat the same process for the other leg.
  • Do this 5-10 times.


Hip Abduction


  • Stand behind the chair and hold the backrest with both hands.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep your head straight.
  • Gently lift your right leg to the right side as high as possible.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the process for the left leg.
  • Do this 10 times for each leg.


Toe Stretch


  • Stand in the same starting position, like hip abduction.
  • Keep the legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Gently lift your toes off the ground.
  • Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat 10-15 times.


Seated Chest Opener


  • Position yourself upright on a chair with your feet on the ground.
  • Gently place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Draw your elbows in front and out while squeezing your shoulder blades.
  • Return the elbows to the starting position.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.


Standing Spine Twist


  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Stack your hands in front of you at 90-degree angles.
  • Gently twist your torso at the waist to either side while your hip remains still.
  • Twist until you feel a stretching sensation in the spine.
  • Return to the starting position, pause, and twist in the opposite direction.
  • Continue twisting in both directions.
  • Do this 10-15 times.


Move with Greater Ease at 12 Oaks Communities

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In addition to providing a homelike atmosphere and arranging fun activities for all residents, our priority is to create an enjoyable, upbeat, and healthy environment through daily self-improvement activities.

Stretching yields many impressive benefits and can be done by almost anyone. Our team never stops working to design and implement healthy exercises and physical activities to all residents’ routines to help improve their strength and mobility and increase their quality of life.

In addition to having a robust community, our 12 Oaks’ dedicated staff provides outstanding, around-the-clock care to ensure a safe, worry-free environment. Your seniors can have the most memorable time with great friends and dedicated staff at one of our 12 Oaks communities.


If you have questions about stretching exercises for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.


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