5 essential stretches you should do every day
Everyone who exercises shouldn’t ditch stretching before training. If your body is tighten up, it can result in poor performance at the gym, stiffen joints, posture issues, and pain in the back, knees, neck, hips, and shoulders. These five stretches will take you just about 5 minutes each and you can do them whenever you want – wherever you want, throughout the day. By doing them you’ll remove pain in your limbs, improve your energy levels, quality of sleep and your workout results.
1. The chair trifecta stretch
Office workers who spent 9 or more hours per day in a sitting position have an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. So stand up from your chair, stretch your limbs and give yourself a great midday energy boost with this tri-planar flexibility exercise. Stand in front of your chair and place one foot on it with knee bent in square angle. Your other foot should be placed behind you with your knee straight and your foot inclined. To stabilize your torso, draw your abs in. In this position lean forward until you feel tension in your groin area – this will help loosen your hip flexor. While staying this stretch position, you’ll perform three movements. First, lift your arms straight overhead, palms facing each other, as your pelvis comes forward. Second, bring your arms straight out in front of your chest. Pivot your arms, chest, and head away from your standing leg. In the final move, rest the arm on your bent-knee side on your bent leg. Lift your arm on the side of your standing leg straight up next to your ear. With your arm raised, lean forward slightly while you simultaneously reach your hand over your head, stretching your side body. When you’ve finished, switch legs and repeat all movements. Performing these stretching moves you’ll get spine and shoulder mobility, and work your proprioceptive system keeping your body in balance. If you repeat these moves on both sides it will also shake up your nervous system, filling your body with energy. Most likely, you’ll feel so mobile and awake that you want to go for a run.
2. Bent forward with a twist
Tight calves is a common thing for everyone, because we’re always on our feet and most of the time are walking around or standing. This tightness can cause pain in the ankles, feet, pelvis, and even back. Tense calves also prevent our weight from sinking and releasing into our feet. So we’re never really grounded in our posture. To give your lower legs a new kind of relieving stretch, do the following stretching. Roll up a blanket, yoga mat or take the foam roller. Place the balls of your feet up on the mat so that your heels are on the floor and you’re still standing almost upright. From this position, hinge forward at the hips to bring your body into a forward bend. If you’re not very flexible, rest your arms or elbows on a table. If you’re flexible, go all the way to the floor. Keep your hips stacked over your heels throughout this forward bend. To avoid tightness the body will try to push your hips back. To maintain the calf stretch, only fold as far forward as you can go while keeping your hips above your heels.
3. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
In addition to tight calves, everybody has tight hips, especially those who maintain sedentary lifestyle. Sitting all day shortens the hip flexors, which can result in back pain and poor posture. To fight this, you should do warm up before your workout with a kneeling hip flexor stretch. Kneel on one knee while facing a wall at slightly less than arm’s length. Put your hands against the wall. Push against the wall really hard, like you’re trying to push it over – that move will activate the core. Now try to push your kneeling knee into the floor, like you’re trying to press it into the ground. This turns on your glutes and abs to release the extension of the hip. Hold this pressure on the wall and floor for a few seconds. Switch sides, and repeat.
4. Make your best stretch
Give a stretch to your quadriceps, hip flexors, abs, and shoulders simultaneously with this simple exercise. Begin in a crab walk position, with your knees bent at square angle, your arms straight down below your shoulders, and your stomach facing the ceiling. From this position, lift your hips up and squeeze your shoulder blades together so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to knees, perpendicular to the ground. Then, shift your weight forward so your knees go towards and past your toes, and your heels almost touch your butt. You’ll feel a stretch all over the front of your body. This stretch is also very energizing. Stretching so many parts of your body simultaneously wakes you up, which makes this stretch great for warming up before workout session, as well as invigorating yourself with an energy boost.
5. A hip-groin stretch
Tension in our muscles or tightness prevents us from unwinding our mind, so you need to release that tension. You’re grounded, and it’s a great way to end the day. Do this simple hip and groin stretch before sleeping. Lie face up on your mattress with your feet flat on the bed, knees bent. Embrace your right knee, pressing it to your chest, and then turn your thigh outwards so that your right ankle goes across your left thigh just above the knee. Your right leg and left thigh should form a triangle. Reach your arms around your left thigh to grab your left shin. Pull your left shin towards your chest, rolling slightly onto your back. In this position, you should feel a stretch in your outer right hip and glute. Maintain this position for a few seconds, then release, and switch sides.