Flexibility is very important for seniors, as this can sometimes mean the difference between being reliant on others or maintaining independence. Flexible hamstrings, which are located in the back of your thighs, mean more lower back and leg flexibility, which allow you to reach your feet to tie your shoes, put on your socks or put on your pants. Unfortunately, as you age, your muscles become shorter and less elastic. Regular stretching can help to offset this process. Stretch the hamstrings three to five times per week to see improvement.
Walk for five to ten minutes to warm up the muscles before stretching.
For your first hamstring stretch, start by standing with your feet together. Step forward with your right foot. Straighten your right leg. Flex your right foot. Bend your left knee slightly and lean your chest down toward your knee until you feel a stretch in your right leg, or hamstring. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
For the next stretch, sit on one side of a bed with both feet on the ground. Turn to the left and lift your left leg up onto the bed so it is straight and several inches in from the edge of the bed. Slowly try to reach for your left foot, leaning down toward your left leg. Keep your left leg as straight as possible. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart for your last hamstring stretch. Place your hands on your thighs. Extend your right leg forward, keeping it slightly bent. Put your right heel on the floor and flex your foot up. Lift your chin and lean your chest forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Tips & Warnings
- As you stretch, don't forget to breath.
- If you feel pain while stretching, stop.
- Do not bounce to try to stretch farther.
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