It’s time to loosen up with these 10 stretching exercises that promise flexibility
If you feel stiffness everywhere in your body then it’s time to loosen up ladies. And there is only one way to go about it: by stretching. We know you find daily stretching routines quite boring but skipping it is only going to do a disservice to muscles.
Do you know, a proper 30-minute stretching session can increase your capacity to lift weights and do cardio? That’s because when you stretch, you are preparing your muscles to workout. As a result, your muscles don’t get tired soon and you don’t feel any stiffness or pain. And if you are into HIIT and/or weight training then stretching is a must for you.
And if you still don’t believe us, then read what science has to say about doing stretches:
- According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, stretching is great to avoid any kind of muscle soreness.
- A study published in Muscle, Ligaments, and Tendon Journal says stretching improves flexibility and mobility, especially if you are an athlete.
- A study from the Journal of Physical Therapy Science claims stretching is important for muscle strengthening.
So what stretches can you do to loosen up your body and get all these benefits? Well, here are 10 to begin with:
1. Standing hamstring stretch
This is a complete package when it comes to your neck, back, hamstrings, and calves. All you have to do is just stand straight, lift your hands up, and slowly bring your hands down and try to touch your feet. Hold this pose for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
2. Triceps stretch
If you love doing push-ups then you must do this one religiously. This stretch focuses on your triceps, back, shoulder, and neck muscles. Lift both your arms. Bend your right arm at the elbow to touch your back. Now, using your left hand, push your right elbow down as much as you can. Repeat on the other side.
3. Butterfly stretch
Your lower body muscles also need to loosen up, especially if you start your workout routine with cardio. Butterfly stretches utilise your hip, back, thigh, and pelvic muscles. Just sit on the floor joining the soles of your feet and knees outward. Hold your toes for a better grip and then flutter your knees up and down for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Lunge stretch
Runners, this one is a must for you as it stretches your lower body to the fullest. Lunge stretches focus on your glutes, things, calves, and quads. Hold your lunge for at least for 10 to 15 seconds. For better balance, engage your core.
5. Side bends
If back soreness troubles you a lot then side bends is your remedy. Stand straight, arms close to your torso, and bend towards the right–tracing your right hand along your right leg gently. Do 25 side bending on each side and after completing each bend, hold the pose for at least 10 seconds.
6. Knee-to-chest stretch
For your lower back, lower abs, hamstring, and hips this stretch is awemazing. Just lie on your back and bring one leg (bent at the knee) closer to your chest and hold it with your hands. Hold this pose for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Do five repetitions on each side.
7. Neck release
A heads-up for this stretch: whenever you do any neck exercises, please ensure that you do it very gently as the tissues around your neck are very soft and you might get a cramp if you do it hastily.
Neck release works on your neck muscles and traps. To do this just sit on the floor cross-legged, bend your neck gently on one side, and with your hand press it slowly for maximum stretch. If you feel any pain, stop immediately. Do five neck releases on each side. You can even do neck stretches after long long hours on the computer.
8. Standing quad stretch
This one is a runner’s delight and it helps you in stretching your quads. All you need to do is stand straight and bend your knee back, grabbing your ankle with your hand. Repeat it with the other leg. Hold the pose for at least 10 seconds. Take support of a wall if need be.
9. Downward dog
Downward dose is an all-rounder for your entire body. It helps you bring mobility to your stiff hips, shoulders, hamstrings, arms, and back. Hold this pose for at least 10 seconds for maximum stretch and repeat it five times. To make this move all the more dynamic you can do a plank and then transcend to a downward dog position. This will help you tighten your core.
10. Cat cow pose
Long working hours and sitting endlessly on that chair leads to stiffness in your back and hips. To relax them all you need to do is the cat cow pose. It stretches your core and encourages blood flow along the spine.