Stretching is an essential part of fitness and overall health.
Stretching maintains muscles can help improve flexibility and strength and helps keep muscles and tendons healthy. Incorporating a stretching program into your daily routine can improve your flexibility and overall mobility.
Stretching may also help you feel less pain associated with muscle tightness and muscle soreness after exercise.
Try this 10-minute stretching routine today to prepare for the busy day ahead or get some much-needed relaxation after work.
1. Kneeling Hip Flexor & Thoracic Rotation
One of my favourites!
By squeezing our glutes in a lunge position whilst twisting our torso in the opposite direction, we stretch our hip flexors and a lot of the back muscles. We are also practising glute activation to keep them connected and working for us.
2. Lying Quad Stretch
An excellent stretch for the front of your legs (quadriceps muscle group) stretches the knee and the hip.
This is great for increasing your range of motion and is helpful after running or any sporting activity.
3. Standing Hamstring Stretch
An essential stretch.
Sitting for long periods promotes tightness in our hamstrings from a bent leg, making it hard to straighten our legs out naturally.
This may affect our ability to kick, run, and even our normal gait cycle (walking).
4. Seated Triceps & Side Stretch
Go-to stretch for all the desk workers/weekend warriors (Yes, I’m looking at you). This stretch is amazing when you want to feel it down the whole side of the body. This stretch can be done seated, so you have no excuses now!
5. Thread the Needle
This is a Yoga and Pilates staple! Apart from the catchy name, this mobility exercise is great for your spine and ribcage. If you focus on your moving hand, you can also help your neck mobility.
Make time to do each exercise for 1 minute (30 seconds on each side).
These simple yet effective stretches can help your body after sport, improve your balance, and increase blood circulation in the muscles. No matter who you are, a regular stretching routine will help you feel better.
Studies have shown stretching can increase or maintain your flexibility and mobility, with the most significant improvements occurring when stretches are held up to 30 seconds and up to 4 repetitions.
Remember to listen to your body and never push into pain. Also, it’s all about consistency. Doing these stretches once or twice isn’t a miracle cure, but as we stretch our body daily, it responds better and better. Your body will thank you later on!
Bye, I’m off to do my stretching!
References: Page P. (2012). Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. International journal of sports physical therapy, 7(1), 109–119