Yoga mats rolled out, a senior couple stretch out on the floor enjoying their workout to improve range of motion, flexibility, and joint health.

Easy Stretching Chart For Seniors’ Flexibility—Free PDF

Lose the stiffness, improve mobility & get flexible in just 10 minutes with this easy daily stretching routine

One of the most enjoyable things about getting out of bed in the morning is getting that good first stretch of the day. You feel great and your body can move easier… but that’s just one stretch. Imagine how good a few more strategic stretches would feel! Discover a new routine—complete with a stretching chart you can print out to keep on hand.

The benefits of stretching for seniors

One of the best things about the wide world of stretches is that they all do wonders for your body. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t move as well as you used to, regular stretches can help address mobility loss. You can also expect to see a boost to your flexibility so you can take on more activities with confidence. Stretching is also a great way to address joint issues and pain through a low impact set of exercises.

Stretching at any fitness level

No matter if you’re used to working out or want to start getting active, stretches are a great way to meet your goals. Since so many styles of stretching are about improving range of motion and flexibility, every exercise is adaptable. Getting a deep stretch will always feel the same whether you’re touching your toes, or only slightly bending at your hips. As long as you’re pushing your flexibility (but not too the point of pain!), stretching is one of the best ways to maintain and improve your quality of life.

Types of Stretches

With so many styles of stretching in the world, it’s best to know when each type is the most beneficial. And don’t forget—your stretching chart pdf is below so you can print it out and use it for quick reference whenever you need to release some tightness or tension in your body.

1. Static Stretching

Flexible exercises for body. Sporty man and woman with grey hair stretching on yoga mats with hands to one leg during outdoors workout. Happy married couple with bare feet warming up together at park.

Origin: 

One of the oldest forms of stretching, static stretching has roots in Yoga—which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Used by many athletes (like martial artists), static stretching became popular around 1960 with many coaches, trainers, and physical education teachers including it in warm-up routines.

What is static stretching? 

Static stretches are designed to push the flexibility of a muscle to its limit with a short hold, between 15 and 60 seconds, and then a short rest before repeating. They are often performed during warm-ups or as standalone flexibility exercises. Static stretches focus on the basics, so exercises like the back stretch, hip flexor stretch and calf stretch are its bread and butter.

Benefits of static stretching:

  • Improves flexibility, mobility & reduces muscle tension.

2. Dynamic Stretching:

Origin: 

While the origin of dynamic stretching isn’t easily traced, its inception is clear: athletics. It’s most often used by athletes to help increase range of motion, flexibility, & maintain joint health. 

What is dynamic stretching?

This style of stretching involves moving your body through a full range of motion in a controlled manner repeatedly. Dynamic stretching incorporates gentle, deliberate movements, & variety to keep you and your body engaged. Dynamic stretches include, but aren’t limited to, arm circles, hip circles, and high stepping.

Benefits of dynamic stretching: 

  • Prevent injuries, enhance mobility, and range of motion.

3. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF):

Origin: 

Three physical therapists, Herman Kabat, Maragaret Knott, and Dorothy Voss collaborated in the mid-20th century to devise this form of stretching. They used their work in neurophysiology and physical rehabilitation during the 1940’s and 50’s to come up with Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation AKA PNF. It is  most often used in physical rehabilitation programs helping people recover from injuries, surgeries, or neurological impairments.

What is PNF? 

PNF stretches use the concept of proprioception, which is your body’s ability to tell where it’s position and orientation is in space. PNF stretches are a combination of isolated muscle contractions, passive stretching and active stretching. One of the most common techniques is the “contract-relax” method–flexing your muscles for a few seconds, relaxing, and repeating.

Benefits of PNF: 

4. Tai Chi

Origin: 

With origins in ancient Chinese culture, Tai Chi is a martial art developed by Taoist monk, Zhang Sanferg. It’s reported he developed the first Tai Chi movements by watching the movements of animals. As a martial art, the slow flowing movements are designed for self defence.

What is Tai Chi?

While not solely focused on stretching, Tai Chi provides a mixture of strengthening & range-of-motion exercises that can provide similar results in increasing flexibility. Using Tai Chi as a style of stretching means embracing slow, controlled, methodical movements that 

incorporates gentle, flowing movements and deep breathing exercises. Since Tai Chi is about fluid movement, there aren’t many names to go with the stretches. However, Tai Chi is iconic for bringing people together in parks around the world.

Benefits of Tai Chi: 

5. Isometric Stretches / Isometric Exercises

Origin:

Based in physical therapy and sports rehabilitation, isometric exercises are a type of stretch rooted in strength training. While new in comparison to other styles of stretching, the basics of body mechanics are at the core of each exercise.

What are isometric stretches?

Isometric stretches put all the focus on one muscle or muscle group. These stretches are also more commonly called Isometric Exercises as this type of stretching provides resistance—which is at the heart of any strength training. The goal is to put the maximum tension on that area for a short period without moving from the first position. The best way to do that is to push or pull on an immovable object. Wall sit, planks, calf raises are just a few examples of exercises that also double as isometric stretches.

Benefits of isometric stretches:

  • Improved stability, increased range of motion, strengthens muscles, and improved flexibility.

Get Your Printable Stretching Chart Here

Now that you have a better understanding of the different stretching styles, it’s time to improve your own flexibility & range of motion! Get your stretching chart for older adults here—download & print to keep it handy for when you need it most!

Road to Recovery

If you’re just starting to stretch to improve your flexibility and mobility it’s likely you’ll feel sore. Believe it or not, that’s a great sign. That doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. To help recover quickly you may want to try:

Stretching is one of the best ways to connect with your body while boosting your mobility, flexibility and joint health. Not to mention the incredible feeling you get from a deep stretch. Isometric, Tai Chi, Dynamic–there’s as many styles of stretching as there are benefits. Embrace those benefits with this 7 Days of Energy Boosting Morning Stretches Class.