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5 Yoga Stretches Everyone Over 40 Should Do, Says Doctor

How to maintain flexibility, strengthen your connective tissue, and prime your body for an active life.
FACT CHECKED BY Alex Daniel

As you get older, your muscles and tendons lose elasticity and your joints will inevitably suffer. This is why fitness experts will tell you that it's crucial to work on your flexibility as you reach middle age. "[You need to] incorporate a good flexibility program alongside your strength training program," Tom Iannetta ATC, CSCS, a senior athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, explained to The Cleveland Clinic. "Whether it's yoga or a simple stretching routine, it will help you stay flexible and decrease the risk of tendon tears and other injuries."

You don't have to go full yogi to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Work some great yoga stretches into your existing routine, and you'll maintain flexibility in your muscles, you'll strengthen your connective tissue, and you'll prime your body to be doing more of whatever it is you love—whether that's running, playing pickleball, or simply doing more yoga. With that in mind, read on for five great yoga stretches everyone over 40 should consider doing. And for more ways to stay active as you age, don't miss The Secret Tricks for Getting a Lean Body After 50, Say Experts.

1

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janushirasana)

Yoga teacher practising at the beach janushirasana

Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Bring your left heel to your groin. Clasp your hands, raise your arms, and reach forward to grasp your right foot below the toes. Touch your forehead to your right knee, even if it requires raising your knee from the floor. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. And for more exercise advice as you age, make sure you're aware of The Most Underrated Exercises Everyone Over 40 Should Do, Says Top Trainer.

2

Half Tortoise (Ardha-Kurmasana)

Group of sporty people practicing yoga lesson, doing Child exercise, Balasana pose, working out, indoor full length, mixed race female students training at club or studio. Well being, fitness concept

Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart. Sit on your heels and straighten your back. Take a deep breath, bring your palms together, and raise them overhead.Exhale and bend forward. Let your forehead touch the floor first, and then your pinkies. Stretch forward a few inches. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Return to the starting position, rest for 20 seconds, and then repeat the routine two more times. This will increase the flexibility of your lats, scapula, deltoids, triceps, and hip joints. For more on the clever ways you can move more every single day, don't miss these Secret Little Tricks for Getting a Lean Body Fast, Say Experts.

3

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Side view portrait of Beautiful Asian woman working out in fitness club or at home, doing yoga or pilates exercise. Dhanurasana, Bow pose,Full length, Concept of healing body and spirit

Lie facedown with a rolled-up towel under your hips for padding. Exhale and bring your heels as close to your butt as you can. Reach back and grasp your ankles. Inhale and slowly raise your torso and thighs off the floor, keeping your knees hip-width apart. Relax your shoulders, look upward, and try to straighten your legs. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Do this two more times to improve blood circulation in your back.

4

Spine-Twisting Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana)

Young woman wear black active wear sit on mat against grunge studio wall background do Ardha Matsyendrasana Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Half Spinal Twist Pose Vakrasana hatha yoga practice concept

Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Slide your left foot under your right hamstring as you lift your right leg across your left. Place your right foot on the floor beside your left knee. With your left leg flat on the floor, twist your body to the right. Post your left triceps on your right knee and place your right hand on the floor behind you. Look over your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and then do the same exercise to the opposite side. This move helps you rotate your cervical spine more easily.

5

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Young concentrated woman performing kneeling back-bending asana Ustrasana (Camel Pose) during group yoga course in fitness studio

Kneel with your knees hip-width apart. Rest your hands on your hips. Push your hips forward to gently stretch your back muscles. Take a deep breath, arch your back, and reach down to grab your heels. Your hips should be above your knees. Let your neck relax. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply, to strengthen your lower back. This pose increases spinal flexibility, but it is the most difficult pose shown here and should be attempted only after a few months of practice. And for more reasons to get limber, don't miss The One Incredible Side Effect of Doing Yoga, Says New Study.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more
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