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The Benefits of Flexibility [A.K.A. The Secret Sauce for Aging]

by Jessica Hegg April 14, 2024 0 Comments

Staying fit helps you look and feel good, but for older adults, it’s about so much more. Keeping our bodies in shape lets us hang onto our independence later in life, and make the most out of each day. Flexibility is a key part of this, serving as the foundation of a comprehensive fitness plan. 

How does your regular workout prioritize flexibility? If you’re not sure, it might be worth considering some of the benefits a more flexible body can offer.

Why Flexibility Matters to Older Adults

As we age, our bodies change, so it makes sense our fitness goals should change as well. While cardio and strength-building exercises are important at any age, older adults also need to consider other dimensions of physical fitness. Think of flexibility as the core of your workout, letting you move easier, more efficiently, and with reduced risk of injury.

Of course, you’re probably wondering about some of the practical ways flexibility can improve your life. Here are some of the top reasons to start stretching:

  • Protect against injury

    Sprains and strains are just a part of life, but with increased flexibility, you can reduce your risk of these injuries. Greater leg flexibility can also reduce your risk of falls.

  • Reduced Pain

    If you suffer from joint pain, the right stretches can help keep your knees, wrists, elbows, and ankles feeling good.

  • Improved Posture

    Keeping the muscles in your back and neck limber will be a good foundation for better posture. This can have positive long-term effects on mobility and quality of life.

  • Boosted Range-of-Motion

    Regular stretching can keep your arm and leg joints in good working order, making it easier to walk, reach, and stay independent.

  • Improve workouts

    Greater flexibility lets you work out longer, harder, and more efficiently, while reducing your risk of injury. If you’re looking to stay fit, a good stretching routine is a great place to start.

3 Simple Ways to Stay Flexible into Old Age

Generally, improving and maintaining flexibility comes down to giving your muscles a good stretch. However, the most effective workout is always one that’s tailored to your needs. See which of these flexibility workout options you like best.

1. Yoga

Yoga may be the most popular way to stay fit these days, with community classes, workout videos, and written guides all easily available. It’s the perfect option for older adults since it’s a low-impact exercise option that won’t put too much strain on your joints. Plus, there are plenty of poses to try, ranging in difficulty from beginner-friendly to more challenging.

Looking to get started on your yoga journey? Take a look at our complete guide here.

2. Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a bit different than traditional stretching, using a lightweight foam roller to improve flexibility in your back and legs. It’s safe, fun, easy to do, and comes with many benefits you might not expect. By massaging your muscle tissue, foam rolling can loosen your muscles, improve blood flow, and even lower stress.

3. Resistance Bands

If you want to build flexibility and muscle strength at the same time, resistance bands might be your best option. They come in different shapes, styles, and resistance levels, but all work the same, adding resistance to the stretches you’re already used to. Think of them as a weight set, except more portable, easy to use, and compatible with a wider range of stretches.

Stretching Tips for Flexibility

It’s important to remember that stretching is only effective if done correctly, and improper stretching can do more harm than good. So take a second to read these tips for safe and effective stretching.

  • Vary Your Routine

    The key to a comprehensive stretch workout is building a routine that can target all major muscle groups of your body. That means finding a selection of different exercises. If you’re looking for ideas, take a look at our stretching workout poster, which features 52 different stretches for you to work into your routine.

  • Stretching Should Never Hurt

    When it comes to stretching, ‘no pain no gain’ isn’t the rule. Painful stretches can cause serious injury if done repeatedly, tearing and weakening muscles. If you start to feel pain during your workout, ease up on your stretch until the feeling goes away.

  • Try a Stretch Strap

    A stretch strap can be the perfect way for older adults to keep their arms and legs flexible. By looping the ends around feet and hands, you can expand the variety of different stretches you’re able to do, and reduce the risk of injury from overextending yourself.

    A kneeling pad can also be a great tool when stretching to avoid painful pressure on joints and bones.

  • Stretching Isn’t a Warm-up

    Contrary to what many of us were taught in school, stretching isn’t an effective way to warm up for a longer workout. Instead, try five minutes of light exercise like walking to limber up your muscles.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean you should give up on stretching entirely! Just treat it as another part of your routine.

  • Consistency is Key

    Stretching doesn’t have to take up a large chunk of your schedule, though it is important to practice it regularly. Five to ten minutes a day, every day is a good goal to shoot for. To build the habit, make sure to do your stretches at the same time every day. Morning is ideal, as it will let you enjoy the benefits all day long.

  • Practice Good Form

    Find a good teacher or guide to ensure you’re practicing your stretches correctly. This will ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout and also help prevent injury. Generally, you want to hold stretches long enough to allow them to affect your muscles, 30 seconds being the target. Keep motions smooth and steady, and don’t ‘bounce’ the stretch or lock your joints.

  • Keep All Major Muscle Groups in Mind

    Make sure to find exercises that target your neck, back, shoulders, hips, thighs, and calves, and always stretch symmetrically, focusing on both sides of your body equally. Unbalanced stretching routines can harm your body, putting additional strain on other muscle groups.

Building Lifelong Flexibility

While flexibility is only one part of a comprehensive workout, it’s one of the most important. In addition to supporting your other fitness goals, it has a dramatic impact on your day-to-day life. A flexible body lets you move more easily and stay independent longer. By dedicating just 5 minutes of your day to stretching, you can keep your body fit at any age.

Jessica Hegg
Jessica Hegg

Jessica Hegg is the content manager and at With vast product knowledge and understanding of individual needs, she aims to share valuable information on making smart buying choices, overcoming obstacles and overall improving the quality of life for others. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle.

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