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Older Adults and Flexibility

Regular physical activity contributes to healthy aging by reducing your risk of disease and helping you feel better and live longer. By slowly increasing your level of activity, you can improve your quality of life, handle day-to-day activities more comfortably and keep your independence.

One important type of physical activity is stretching. This is any activity that increases your flexibility so you have safe and healthy joints and muscles.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you're planning to do flexibility activities. Be sure to choose exercises that are right for your health, medical condition, fitness level, and fitness goals.

  • Before stretching, do some warm-up activities so there's less chance that you'll injure yourself. For example, walk for 10 minutes first.
  • Flexibility exercises should focus on your whole body.
  • Do stretches at least 2 to 3 days a week.
  • Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Try to stretch each muscle group 4 times. But remember, even 1 or 2 stretches are better than nothing.
  • Stretches should be slow and smooth.
  • Stretching may cause you mild discomfort, but you shouldn't feel pain.

Last Reviewed: December 2016

© 2016 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.