Time to Get Flexible: 4 Ways to Stretch Your Body for All Aspects of Your Life

stretching2Image by: Benjamin DeLong
By Avril Reyes

You probably already know that you should be keeping up with a regular fitness routine, but did you know important it is to keep up with your physical flexibility as well? Flexibility decreases as we age unless you make an active effort to keep up with it. And you should, staying flexible ensures that your aerobic workouts are more beneficial to the body, decreases your risk of injury, improves your posture which can reduce random tension in the body, and can make sitting at your desk or picking up heavy groceries a lot more tolerable.

When one muscle group is tighter than the other it comprises the movement of the muscle groups working nearby, so you can actually make your calorie burning more efficient by keeping your body stretched out and in harmonic working condition as well. Here are some moves to start incorporating into your life that won’t take tons of time out of your day, but can improve how your body handles work, exercise, and everything else you might be doing.

#1) The Anti-Sit Split

If you sit a lot (who doesn’t), you probably experience some tightness in your hamstrings and your hip flexors. No one expects you to be able to jump into a full out splits here, but the stretches that prep you for the splits are great for loosening up both of those muscle groups.

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Image by: 12minuteathlete.com
For your hip flexors, get into a lunge position with the back shin on the floor and push forward into the lunging leg until you feel a gentle pull in your hip flexor. It should feel good to stretch it out even though it might surprise you how tight the area is. Try to hod for 30 seconds to get the most out of the stretch.

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Image by: 12minuteathlete.com
Next to move onto the hamstring, just pull your lunge straight and back until your front leg is extended in front of you while pointing your front toes. Gently lean forward to get a great stretch on the back of the thighs.

After that try moving on to a pike stretch where you put both legs together in front of you and lean forward towards your toes. Then spread your legs apart as much as possible and lean down the center, creeping your fingers forward as much as you can, and remembering to keep up the deep breathing while you do it.

#2) The Shoulder Stretch

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Image by: 12minuteathlete.com
The shoulders are a common source of pain and irritation from being overly tight, especially if you type or spend any time hunched forward at a desk or while driving. To give them a stretch they deserve, kneel in front on your bed and or a couch, they lean forward and extend your arms straight out, using the bed as leverage to lean against. This should provide a gentle stretching feeling that goes through your arms and your back. You might not even want to get up! Try to keep your shoulders down away from ears but feel free to arch your back as it feels comfortable for you.

To get your triceps, just bend of your arms behind your head with your palm flat on your back and gently hold it there or slightly push down on the elbow with the opposite hand.

#3) The All Over Bridge

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Image by: 12minuteathlete.com
The bridge stretch can look a little daunting or reminiscent of a middle school cheer squad move, but pretty easy to get in and out of and can be a great stretch for the whole body, as well as a way to strengthen the back. Here’s a video you can watch to make sure you’re doing it safely!!

To get the other angle of the back, try getting on all fours and arching your back the opposite direction so that you look like a cat raising it’s middle back up. You can then alternate into dipping your back and go back and forth to gently increase your range of motion.

#4) The Twists

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Image by: Shape.com
Another way to stretch out your back and your glutes at the same time is to lay on your back, pull one leg into your chest, and then gently let it fall to the opposite side of the body while you hold it there. You should feel the stretch in your butt area as well as a nice pull in your back.

You can also do a spinal twist from a seated position, by putting your bent leg right over your straight leg, planting the foot of the bent leg, and then twisting in the opposite direction. Use your opposite elbow to push away from the leg and get a deep stretch.

Do you have any favorite stretches that get you through the week? We’d like to think that improving our physical flexibility can improve our flexibility in all aspects of life, let us know if you’ve ever experienced something that suggests so!

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