We all have taken little tumbles at some point in our lives, but as we age, the risk of falling — and getting injured from the spill — increases dramatically, just as our ability to heal decreases. Stretching is a strategy to combat that dangerous combo.
“Stretching takes all kinds of forms, but what I have instructed that seems to work the best are gentle, easy stretches emphasizing posture,” explained Jerry Jordano, owner of Central Coast Home Health, who is not an advocate of the “no pain, no gain” mentality when it comes to stretching. “I make sure the clients are aware of exactly what muscle they are targeting, what that muscle is supposed to do, and how it will affect their overall movement and performance. I ask them to move very carefully into the stretch, without pain, and be very aware of how it ‘tugs’ or ‘pulls’ on other areas of the body.”
He suggests 20-30 seconds of gentle stretches, and then relaxing and repeating about five times. “If they are too uncomfortable, then they are likely stretching too hard,” Jordano said. “It should never be painful. I want the person to gain a sense of awareness about their entire body as it relates to that one particular muscle that is being targeted.” Jordano said to first stretch the shoulders, calves, and hamstrings, and warns that back stretches can be a bit more complicated and painful.
When it comes to fighting the risk of falling, it’s all about the hip. “Hip flexibility in particular lowers the risk of breaking the hip when falling,” said Patrick Gregston, from The Genius of Flexibility. “The recovery from a hip fracture is often the first step towards reduced mobility. Long bed rest becomes a factor in pulmonary function leading to pneumonia. So, stretching can both prevent falling and lessen the effects of falls when they occur.”
Learn about Central Coast Home Health’s Better Balance for Life and Fall Prevention Program, by calling 543-2244 or visiting centralcoasthomehealth.com. Learn more about the Genius of Flexibility at