Stretching and balancing exercises are good because they help keep our joints flexible, prevent stiffness and may help reduce our chance of injury during other activities.
Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes, also helps your body warm up and get ready for aerobic activities such as walking or swimming, but some people find it easier to stretch after their activity ends and that’s fine, too.
Some activities that count as flexibility exercises include:
- Basic stretches;
- Dynamic stretching such as high knees or back kicks;
- Tai chi.
But it is important to make sure you are doing basic stretching exercises correctly. Stretching should feel mild and relaxing. It should never feel uncomfortable or painful.
It is important we follow the pointers below when stretching or doing any flexibility exercises:
- Relax as you stretch;
- Stretch only to the point that you feel mild tension;
- Hold a steady stretch for 5-15 seconds;
- Breathe deeply and slowly as you stretch;
- Keep it comfortable;
- Ease off the stretch if you feel discomfort.
- Bounce or bob as you stretch;
- Hold your breath;
- Strain or push to the point of pain.
Building balance helps us stay steady on our feet and can reduce our risk of falling and injuring ourselves. As we age, balance exercises are especially important.
Examples of balance exercises include:
- Walking backwards or sideways;
- Walking heel to toe in a straight line;
- Standing on one leg at a time;
- Standing from a sitting position.
Stretching and balancing exercises are becoming even more important for me because I have mild cerebral palsy hemiparesis.