As a network of physical rehabilitation and personal care facilities for the elderly, Senior Health Care Solutions is aware of the importance of staying flexible as you age.
Elderly people overall have less mobility due to their tendons and muscles losing elasticity over time. As a result, it’s easier for older people to suffer hamstring injuries or general leg weakness.
However, we don’t just have to accept that our seniors will have weak legs as they get older.
There are a number of hamstring stretches for seniors that can make the hamstrings more flexible and strengthen the leg overall.
We can introduce these exercises to any senior who needs them when receiving physical rehabilitation or long-term personal care from us.
In the meantime, learn more below about the hamstrings, how these muscles weaken as we age, and what seniors can do to strengthen their hamstrings.
What Is the Hamstring?
So we all understand what we’re talking about when we reference the hamstrings: the hamstrings are a set of muscles located in the back of the thigh.
You probably rarely even think of your hamstrings, but they are what allow you to stand, walk, jump, use stairs, bend your knee, turn your hip, and just stretch your leg out.
While “normal” movements will generally be perfectly fine for the hamstrings, it doesn’t take a lot of strenuous movements to injure those muscles.
You typically see hamstring injuries in athletes who perform a lot of sudden movements. Abruptly changing what the hamstrings are doing can strain them and cause a great deal of pain and loss of flexibility.
What Causes Hamstring Pain in the Elderly?
Unfortunately, these kinds of injuries can easily occur in elderly people, too, but not always from strenuous movement.
The elderly are more susceptible to hamstring tears and pain because tendons and muscles in the body tend to become less stretchy as we age.
As a result, older people could injure their hamstrings much more easily from regular movement than a younger person would. And, of course, unexpected sudden movements could easily hurt the muscle group, as well.
In all people, hamstring injuries can cause pain and leave you struggling to walk for months.
In the elderly, whose muscles aren’t as flexible anymore and who don’t heal as fast as younger people, hamstring injuries could cause some serious mobility issues.
3 Easy Hamstring Stretches for Seniors
Fortunately, there is a way to decrease the chances that elderly people will injure their hamstrings, and that is by strengthening the hamstrings with regular leg exercises.
What are the exercises that strengthen the hamstrings?
We’ll name three that our nurses and physical therapists can help our patients and residents to practice to strengthen their hamstrings:
- Glute bridge stretch
- Good morning stretch
- Single-leg hamstring curl
Glute Bridge Stretch
This hamstring stretch is relatively simple.
You lie with your back flat on the floor and your legs bent at the knees. You then use your abs and glutes to lift up your torso and get it into a straight line in the air. Then return to the ground.
At Senior Health Care Solutions facilities, we know this is an easy way to encourage the hamstring muscles to strengthen over time to reduce the risk of injury.
Good Morning Stretch
The good morning stretch is another easy hamstring-strengthening exercise.
Stand with your feet apart at hip width. While holding your hands at the side of your head, bend your knees a bit while bending over at the waist.
You want to push your hips out behind you to bring your torso down and forward so it eventually becomes parallel to the ground. Then return to a standing position.
The movements here will stretch the hamstring muscles and allow them to build their strength.
Single-Leg Hamstring Curl
Finally, our physical therapists might also practice single-leg hamstring curls with your senior at one of our facilities.
This involves lying flat on your stomach with a resistance band around your ankles.
Use your glutes and hamstring area to bend one knee and lift your leg up in the air. Then return it to its previously flat position.
Do the same exercise with the other leg.
Over time, all three of these hamstring stretches for seniors can strengthen the hamstring muscles and prevent future injury to this area.
Trust Senior Health Care Solutions with Practicing the Best Hamstring Stretches for Seniors
We understand that mobility issues can present real problems for seniors. We are here to assist with these and more exercises in our rehab and physical therapy programs so that seniors with hamstring injuries can recover and prevent those injuries from happening again.
To learn more about how we help seniors with rehab and physical therapy, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (570) 969-2188.