We all know this scenario….
You’re getting back into the workout groove….you jump right into your old routine at the gym…and then WHAM!….you injure yourself and you’re out for the count. All because you forgot to stretch!
Preventing injuries is one of many benefits of stretching. In fact, most animals on earth naturally stretch themselves awake and then again right before they doze into sleep. So, why would humans be an exception?
There are a variety of advantages to daily stretching such as decreasing chronic pain, releasing mental and physical stress, and supporting healthy blood circulation. Many yoga poses can provide full body stretches that help improve lung capacity, stress levels, mental clarity, strength, and flexibility – making it a true mind, body, and soul purification.
Lower back pain? Do stretches that target your pelvic muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps and lessen the strain on your back. This will increase blood and nutrient flow within the body and raise the temperature of your muscles to provide a greater range of motion that your pain may be preventing.
- Lunge stretch
Just like the lunge exercise except you’ll place your back knee on the ground and push your hips to the ground. If your front knee is leaning over your ankle, move your foot forward a bit to get a deeper stretch to prevent injury. Switch legs and repeat on other side.
2. Seated back twist
Crossing one leg over the other, placing the foot on the ground outside of your other thigh. Gently twist towards your bent leg to get a good back stretch. Switch legs and repeat on other side.
3. Side reaching
Standing with your legs about hip-width (or a little more) apart, put one hand on your hip and the other stretched over your head – leaning toward the side your hand is placed on. Switch arms and repeat on other side.
4. Arm stretch
Cross one straight arm over your chest and grab that elbow with your other arm, pulling it in closer to your body to get a good upper arm/shoulder stretch. Switch arms and repeat on other side.
5. Toe touch
The common flexibility test! Have your legs together and straight and slowly bend at the hips to reach for your toes.
6. Thigh stretch
In a standing position, bend one leg and grab the foot from behind. Hold for about 30 seconds to help loosen and warm up your thigh muscles. Switch legs and repeat on other side.