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Stretch it Out

Man stretching on the beach.Warm UP, Cool Down, Be Flexible!

It’s not enough to build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness. You need to think about flexibility, too.

You may think of stretching as something performed only by runners or gymnasts. However, we all need to stretch to protect our mobility and independence.
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
With a body full of muscles, the idea of stretching everyday might sound exhausting but you don’t have to stretch every muscle you have everyday.

Aim for a program of daily stretches or at least three or four times per week…

Top 3 Stretches You Can Do on A Daily Routine.

Runner’s Stretch; This stretch is great for the lower body, especially the hamstrings and hip flexors. Tight hamstrings are often the culprits of low back pain. They may be worse in people who sit for extended periods of time.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step back with your left leg and place both of your hands on the ground on either side of your right foot, about shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip and leg. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly straighten your front leg, keeping your hands planted on the floor. Don’t worry if you can’t get your leg completely straight. Hold for 12 seconds and 3 reps.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Bound Angle; This hip opening stretch is effective for both men and women. It helps decrease tension in the hips and muscles on the inside of the thighs.

  • Sit on the floor, back straight. Keep the soles of the feet touching.
  • Place your hands on your feet and lengthen through the spine. Feel as if there is a string pulling your head to the ceiling and shift your weight forward off your tailbone.
  • Using your arms to assist, lean forward with a flat back, bringing your head toward your feet.
  • Only go as far as comfortable. Hold position for 12 seconds and 3 reps.

Chest Stretch in Door; Tightness in the chest and shoulders is often found in people with poor posture. This can lead to further problems later in life. Doing daily chest-opening stretches can help prevent tightness and promote proper posture and better breathing.

  • Stand in the middle of an open door.
  • Place your forearms on each side of the doorframe, if possible. If the doorway is too wide, do one arm at a time.
  • Gently lean forward into the doorway until you feel a stretch through the front of the chest and shoulders.
  • Only go as far as comfortable. Hold position for 12 seconds and 3 reps.

Stretching for only a few minutes a day can be beneficial and allow you to keep your normal range of motion throughout your life.
Always remember to check with a professional before attempting any new exercise as some stretches may not be suitable for you.

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