Have you been feeling aches all over your body?
Finding yourself shuffling as you walk?
Feeling lethargic and tired all the time?
As we age older, our joints become stiffer while our tendons and ligaments are being shortened. This greatly decreases our range of motion which makes us less flexible.
Just as much as exercise is important as we age, so does flexibility too!
The many benefits of maintaining flexibility after 50 years of age is that it improves your overall physical performance, relieves nagging body pain and aches, improves posture, and decreases the risk of injuries.
So if you’re thinking it’s too late to start to regain flexibility over 50 years of age, get ready to feel young and healthy again!
Here are the 6 yoga poses you can easily practice by yourself!
6 Yoga Poses to Regain Flexibility After 50
1. Pyramid Pose
Having tight hamstrings and sore low backs are really frustrating.
This is especially common when aging.
If you feel like you need to relieve yourself of this struggle, the Pyramid Pose is a stretch you should learn!
The Pyramid Pose helps to promote a deep stretch for both your hamstrings and low back. It is also a simple way to practice your balance.
For beginners who have extremely tight hamstrings, you may opt to use a yoga block to help lessen the distance you have to stretch.
- To learn the basic Pyramid Pose, start off in a standing position. Use the inside of your right foot and step about 8 inches behind your left foot.
- Keep your back foot angled. You should feel as though you are balancing on a beam.
- Inhale to extend both arms above your head while lengthening your spine.
- Exhale and slowly bring your chest downwards to your left leg.
- Your hands should be reaching for your shin, or if possible, the floor. You may slightly bend your knee in this position.
- Remember to relax both your neck and chest over your left leg and breathe slowly.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
- You should perform 4-5 times on each side.
You can add variations to this yoga pose by placing a chair in front of you as lower your body and stretch towards it.
If you’d like a deeper stretch in your back, try bringing your arms around your lower back. While doing so, grab and hold the opposite elbow with each hand.
2. Downward Dog
Downward dog is probably the most used and favored yoga pose for flexibility because it is simple to do and it feels good for everyone.
Whether you are a yoga beginner or expert, the difficulty of the downward dog can be adjusted according to the pressure you place on your hands, arms, and back.
It stretched specifically the back muscles, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and the bottom of the feet.
It also boosts lower back health by relieving tight or sore lower back while strengthening the upper back and shoulder muscles.
The deeper you want to stretch, the more you need to push through your upper body muscles and the more you work on isometric strength.
- To do the downward dog, kneel down and place your hands on the yoga mat and directly under your shoulders. Keep your fingers spread wide.
- Tuck your toes under and push your body up while engaging your core muscles as you do so. This should leave only your hands and feet on the mat.
- Use your hands to press the floor as you move your chest gently towards your thighs.
- Your head, neck, and back should be aligned together.
- Gently bring your heels towards the floor.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds and release.
3. Yogi Squat Pose
The Yogi Squat Pose is a pose that should be usually done before and after a workout, or included in part of your yoga practice.
It helps to stretch the hips and lower back.
- To begin the Yogi Squat Pose, crouch down with your tailbone between your ankles.
- Place your hands in prayer at your chest.
- In this position, press your hands firmly together as you use your elbows to press against your inner thighs.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
As you stay in the position and continue to breathe, it helps to open up and relax the back muscles.
Your hips and hip flexors are also increasing in flexibility as they are being opened up. Other than that, it also helps in building leg strength, especially in your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
If your daily activities include sitting for long hours, practicing the Yogi Squat Pose can help to increase mobility and flexibility!
4. Standing Side Bend
If you find yourself constantly slouching over the computer or phone, there’s a high chance that you are developing the posture that will lead to a humpback.
This posture causes the back to curve forward and the neck to be out of alignment while tightening the chest area.
To fix this, practicing the Standing Side Bend can help to stretch the spine and obliques which promotes better posture.
It also helps to open up the entire torso by opening the muscle tissue surrounding the spine and rib cage.
- Start off with your feet together and root them firmly into the ground.
- As you stand tall, lift the knee caps by squeezing your quadriceps. This helps to increase leg strength.
- Stretch both arms above your head as you inhale. Next, slowly lower your right arm to the right side of your body.
- As you exhale, lengthen your left arm over your head while gently bending your body to the right.
- Remember to continue squeezing both legs while engaging your glutes and abdominal muscles. It will help support your body to balance as you stretch farther.
- Inhale and raise your arms back to starting position.
- Repeat again on the left side.
- You should try to perform 4-5 times on each side.
5. Runner’s Lunge
Runner’s Lunge is excellent in helping to stretch your lower body, especially the hip flexors, hips, groin and legs.
As it helps to improve your flexibility, you’ll also be working your muscles such as the core, quads, and glutes.
If you’re suffering from hip pain and tightness, this pose is a great way to relieve your body of that tension.
By doing this pose, you’ll be able to rest your hands on the floor so that your legs
- Start off by going into a plank position, making sure your hands are directly below your shoulders.
- Put your right foot forward to reach the outer edge of your mat and next to your pinky finger.
- While holding this position, try to let go and release your hips into gravity instead of tensing up your muscles. This will help you to engage in a deeper stretch in your hips.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
6. Reverse Table Top
The reverse tabletop pose is an amazing pose that can help prevent a hunchback posture.
This posture is usually caused by practicing daily bad posture habits such as slouching over the laptop or sitting for long hours.
It helps to open up and stretch the tight muscles at the front of the body while strengthening the back and core muscles.
- You begin in a seated position and place all four limbs on the ground. Your feet should be flat on the floor in line with your sit bones.
- Place your palms behind your back with your fingers facing inwards.
- Tighten your glutes, hamstrings, and core as you lift your body upward. You should try to achieve a straight line through the spine.
- Let your head gently relax back.
- As you hold this position, remember to push your hips upward and pull your shoulders back. This will help you to feel a deeper stretch through your shoulders, chest, and for some people, in the biceps.
- In order to gain from the strength benefits of this pose, make sure to actively squeeze your glutes as you hold the position as opposed to passively holding your body weight.
- Breathe and hold for 30 seconds before releasing.
Gentleness and Time Matters
So let’s say you haven’t been stretching in the longest time, the best way to approach this is to take it easy!
Be gentle with your body.
Yes, stretching does hurt to some extent but that doesn’t mean you need to force yourself to touch your toes from the first try.
Also, just give yourself 10-15 minutes every day to practice your stretch!
The effects of stretching aren’t immediate as compared to cardio and strength training. A research was done over a 10-week period has shown that people who did yoga biweekly has increase flexibility significantly (source).
With that said, regaining flexibility after 50 does takes a little more patience.
But, in the long run, you’re going to thank yourself for investing those few minutes every day in stretching to prevent injuries and aches.
Well, nothing beats a good stretch after a long day!