Flexibility Total Body Stretch for Seniors By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner, CPT Facebook LinkedIn Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer"; and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." Learn about our editorial process Updated on October 31, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS Medically reviewed by Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach, and co-founder of The Prehab Guys. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print This total-body routine takes you through simple, relaxing moves to stretch your hamstrings, quads, calves, back, chest, and arms. Flexibility is essential for staying fit and agile and functioning at your best. Incorporate stretching as part of your exercise program to boost your workout. Benefits of Stretching According to the American Council on Exercise, stretching can help your body in several different ways. These can include: Better posture: Stretching your shoulders, chest, and back supports proper back alignment.Decreased back pain: With better posture comes less back pain. Stretching the upper leg and pelvis area lowers tension on the lower back.Enhanced circulation: Muscles and joints receive better blood flow during stretching, delivering essential nutrients throughout the body.Faster recovery: After a tough workout, stretching loosens muscles so they don't become as stiff and sore.Greater functioning: Stretching improves the body's ability to perform day-to-day activities.Increased range of motion: This helps you stay more nimble.Lower risk of injury: A muscle that's been well stretched can handle sudden movements more easily without straining.More relaxed muscles: Tense muscles may not be getting the oxygen and nutrients they need. Stretching helps muscles to relax.Reduced stress levels: Taking a few minutes to breathe deeply during a stretch gives you a chance to focus on your body and meditate. Precautions See your doctor if you have any medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries to determine if any modifications should be made while stretching. Be sure to review basic guidelines about stretching to do it safely and correctly. How to Do a Total-Body Stretch This stretching routine requires a chair, exercise ball, or bench. You will perform most of these stretches seated. You can do this routine at home or at the gym. Begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up of light cardio (such as walking in place).Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat one to three times.Perform these stretches after a workout or after muscles are warm from a hot bath or showerFor best results, stretch after cardio and strength-training workouts. 1 Quad Stretch Hero Images / Getty Do this exercise standing or lying on the floor. Hold onto a wall or chair for support. Bend one knee, bringing the foot up behind you towards your backside. Grab onto the foot or ankle with your hand and point the knee towards the floor to feel a stretch down the front of your thigh. Repeat on the other side. 2 Hamstring Stretch Sit on a bench or on a chair with another chair across from you. Stretch one leg out, toes up, with the other foot on the floor. Keep your back straight and abs engaged and bend forward from the hips until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Note: If you've had a hip replacement, check with your doctor before doing this stretch. 3 Calf Stretch Stand with your hand on the wall for support in a split stance—one leg forward and one leg back. Press the back heel towards the floor and lean the body forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf. Repeat on the other side. 4 Back Stretch Clasp your hands together in front of you and round your back, pressing your arms away from your body. You should feel a stretch in your upper back. 5 Torso Stretch Sitting or standing, clasp your hands straight up overhead, palms facing the ceiling. Gently lower your upper body to the right side until you feel a stretch down your left side. Switch sides and repeat. 6 Triceps Stretch Bend the left elbow behind your head and use the right hand to gently pull your left elbow back further until you feel a stretch in the back of your upper arm. Switch sides and repeat. 7 Chest Stretch Clasp your hands behind you and gently straighten the arms, lifting them slightly until you feel a stretch across your chest and shoulders. A Word From Verywell A thorough stretching routine gives you a chance to connect with your body and reflect on how you feel. Too often, we rush through the day, paying little attention to our muscles, joints, and overall well-being. Make a habit of stretching (especially after exercise) to keep your body limber and ready to handle the stressors of daily life. 1 Source Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. American Council on Exercise. Top 10 benefits of stretching. October 7, 2014. By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. These partnerships do not impact our editorial choices or otherwise influence our editorial content.