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Twelve stretches suitable for the elderly to improve flexibility

As we age, our bodies go through several changes, such as loss of muscle mass and bone density, which can lead to tighter muscles, stiffer joints and regular aches and pains, causing discomfort and having a negative impact on our day-to-day life.

Studies have shown that with age, flexibility decreases by up to 50 per cent in some joints, so it’s fairly common for those experiencing decreased suppleness to limit their physical activity because of the pain or the struggle to perfect the activities they once enjoyed.

However, one of the things we can do to prevent a loss of flexibility as we mature, is to stay active. In addition, to aid connective tissue and joint care, apply a daily application of Pernaton Gel with added menthol and other essential oils, which is proven to improve joint mobility.

Stretching is a fantastic way to improve flexibility, promote better balance and reduce pain or stress. Additionally, stretches which focus on posture and mobility can support daily activities and limit risk of falling or causing an injury.

There are generally two types of stretching exercises:

  • Static stretching involves holding a stretch for approximately 30 seconds or more and is the chosen method to create lasting lengthening of a muscle and surrounding tissue.
  • Dynamic stretching is slightly more active, focusing on improving your range of mobility though natural movement.

It’s recommended that the elderly should stretch, after a ten-minute warm up, two to three times a week, performing a variety of stretches for each body region, three to five times, with a 30-second hold. Those looking to increase flexibility should up the stretches to four or five times a week.

Below are some suggested stretches you can try to help with your mobility. Remember to keep that stomach pulled in and hold positions for approximately 30 seconds or more.

  1. Chest stretch

Clasping hands behind your back, gently straighten your arms, lifting them until you feel the stretch across your chest and shoulders. Resist bending forwards.

  1. Hand stretch

Holding your arms out in front of you with palms facing down, open and close the hands, spreading the fingers apart.


  1. Hip rotation

Standing with your feet together, place your hands on your hips. As if you’re hula-hooping, circle your hips in one direction five times and five times in the other direction. Resist moving your shoulders.

  1. Neck stretch

Begin by sitting tall – either on a chair or on the floor – and gently tilt your head to one side, then to the next. Once you feel your neck is warm, lift your left arm up and over your head to gently pull your head to the left to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

  1. Shoulder roll

Sitting or standing tall, raise your shoulders up and move in a circular motion forwards ten times. Stop and repeat in the other direction.

  1. Inner thigh stretch

Using a chair or a stable prop, place your feet comfortably apart. Bend knees out to the side and hold for approximately 20 seconds. Slowly raise and repeat.

  1. Chin drop

Put your arms out in front of you with your elbows and palms touching, palms facing the ceiling. Gently place your palms on the top of your head and drop your chin to feel a stretch in your neck and shoulder.

  1. Back stretch

Standing tall, place your hands on your hips. Gently arc backwards, looking up to the ceiling and hold for about five seconds before returning to a standing position. Repeat.


  1. Ankle stretch

Sitting tall, extend your leg out in front of you, keeping the other firmly on the floor. Rotate the raised angle ten times in one direction and then ten times in the other. Lower the leg and repeat on the other.

  1. Torso stretch

Clasping your hands straight above your head with your palms together, gently lower to one side until you feel a stretch down the other side. Switch sides slowly and repeat.

  1. Triceps stretch

Raise and bend one elbow behind your head and use the opposite hand to gently pull the lifted elbow in further until you feel a stretch in the back of your arm. Switch sides and repeat.

  1. Knee to chest

Sitting comfortably, grasp one knee and gently pull up towards your chest. Hold this for approximately ten seconds and then place the leg back down. Repeat on the opposite leg.


Stretching is designed to improve your flexibility and mobility and reduce the likelihood of injury. It should not cause you any pain so please stop if you experience any with one or more of the above movements.