Stretching leg muscles every day may benefit older adults and other people with mobility problems, a new study reports. The findings suggest that regular stretching could improve blood flow to leg muscles and improve walking ability in elderly people and others with limited mobility.
Researchers placed splints on lower limbs of older rats to stretch their calf muscles. The splints were placed on one leg for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for four weeks. This stretching program increased blood flow to muscles in the lower leg, according to the study published April 4, 2018 in the Journal of Physiology.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, having good flexibility may help you alleviate stiffness, prevent injuries, and maintain good range of motion in joints. Studies show that light stretching of leg muscles used in walking may improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Stretching regularly, at least once a day, is the best way to maintain flexibility.
Simple Stretching Exercises You Can Do at Home
Here are some basic stretching exercises most people can do. Many of them include a chair to sit on or wall assist during each stretch. Valley’s Cardiac Rehab program uses these gentle stretches to help those with heart conditions and those recovering from heart surgery or attacks build the flexibility they need to start exercising again. See stretching routine poster.
Build Flexibility and Balance with Group Exercise Classes
Yoga, Active Recovery, Mat Pilates, Aqua Core and Tai Chi are all classes provided at Valley Medical Center that help build flexibility and balance. Tai Chi is free and is held twice weekly at beginners or intermediate levels. Valley’s Fitness Center offers the first four classes, included in a Fitness Center membership. The Fitness Center’s highly skilled, degreed professionals create wellness plans that meet individual needs and support members all along the way on their journey to better health. For a free Fitness Center tour, call 425.656.4006.