The Stretches of the Most Limber 77-Year Old I Know

It was almost 20 years ago that my dad started a daily routine of stretching, lifting free weights, and riding a stationary bike to remain fit and flexible into his senior years. Today, he is 77 and remains the most limber person I’ve seen among his peers.

Several years ago, I asked him to walk me through the 30-minute stretching routine he does to start each day. In his words, he goes from feeling 80 years old to feeling 30 years old because of that half hour. Today, I found the notes I took from his lesson. His stretches are below:

Arm circles – forward and back 25x

Hold fingers to temples – then move elbows in and out 25x

Karate punches – 25x

Forward stroke of freestyle swim stroke – 25x

If stiff, will do 50x

Lie down flat on back, hold arms out, then sweep leg across body (20 sec each)

The typical quad stretch

Reach arm straight out and hold, then over back of head for 20 seconds each

Single arm jai alai stroke – 12x each

Deep breathing, reaching arms out when you inhale and then dropping arms back to your side on exhale – 12x

Arms straight up, then stretch to toes, then touch fingers to floor

Lie down, move ankles in circles in the air: left, right, straight 25x each

Hamstring back while lying down

Then hold and move leg below knee in circle while elevated

Knee bends

Typical calf stretches

Lift one leg and place heel on a table to stretch hamstring

Typical calf stretch but with leg extended out further

Place hands on edge of a table, extend leg out and hold out as far as can

Elevated pushups on table, 50x

Sitting with legs out, extend back, then lean nose toward knees

Extend back, reach out to toes

Pull knee to chest while sitting, 10x each

Place a freeweight or large book at your feet; reach down with one hand to grab the weight/book, then pull up diagonally toward the opposite shoulder 12-25x each

Neck rolls, 25x each direction

Hands on hips, bend over at waist, center/left/right 3x

Standing, turn to look back in each direction while keeping your arms outstretched and extended

The typical back stretch while sitting on ground: one bent leg across the other extended, then use opposite arm to turn in other direction to stretch back

Butterfly

Standing, make single breaststroke all the way around until clasping your hands behind you, pull head back, then lean forward (2x)

While standing, hold arms out, straight up, then lean back

While standing, hold arms straight up, then swing them down through legs

Repeat with legs spread out

While standing, arms stretched up/out, then bend down each side

Repeat with legs spread out

Lie face down, then arch back so pushed partly up, then all the way up (20 sec each)

Mecca pose on ground, extending arms forward as far as can (20 sec)

Final note: he does a set of crunches before moving on to the next category of stretches.