Patrice Cahill, Massachusetts-based ISSA fitness trainer, senior fitness specialist, and founder/president of Generational Octane, Inc. Senior Fitness Company and Patrice's Personal Training Company, offers four gentle stretching moves, which can be great to incorporate into your mornings, when your stamina and strength will be highest.

These exercises can be done lying down on your bed, which makes them especially appropriate for older folks and those with limited mobility.

How to Prepare

Cahill recommends making sure you have plenty of room and that you aren't at risk of falling out of your bed. She says to start with your dominant or strongest side first for all of the exercises and begin with just a few reps and work up to more as your strength and flexibility improve.

1. Ankle warm-up: Partially stretch out your legs, keeping your knees bent. Then roll one ankle in circles for about 10 seconds. Repeat the same thing on the other side.

2. Leg warm-up: Reach down to your leg to clasp the muscle behind your knee about an inch up with both hands. Gently bend your knee toward your chest, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side. Work up to 10 repetitions with each leg.

3. Wrist warm-up: Lift one arm off of the bed, then slowly roll your wrist in one direction for about 10 seconds, then go the other way for another 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

4. Arm warm-up: Lift your arm again and this time, slowly wiggle your fingers in a "climbing" motion up towards the ceiling. Just as slowly, wiggle them to "climb" back down until you've returned to the starting position.  Do these up-and-down sequences three times. Repeat on the other side.

A Few Precautions

Cahill stresses the importance of always getting your doctor's okay before you start any new exercise routine. She also reminds people to listen to their bodies when stretching. This is important to prevent injuries.

"If you feel any pain or discomfort while doing these or any exercise, stop," Cahill warns. "A warm feeling (sometimes called a 'burning' sensation) is usually normal, but pain is an indication that something is going on." When it doubt, always check with your doctor.

Patrice Cahill reviewed this article.



Sources: "Stretch for Flexibility." 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Martin, Sheila. "5 Important Stretches to Do Every Morning." 25 Feb. 2011. Sharp Seniors.

Patrice Cahill. ISSA Fitness Trainer, Senior Fitness Specialist, Founder/President of Generational Octane, Inc. Senior Fitness Company, Owner of Patrice's Personal Training Company. Email interview. 18 Nov. 2012.