Every morning as you get out of bed or get off your desk in the evening, you know when you need a stretch. Now think of what this simple stretch does to your body. How it can loosen up your muscles, and you end up relieving the muscle stiffness in your neck and back that you experienced all day.
Well, this is precisely what stretching can do to your body. It loosens up muscles, relieves tension, and improves joint mobility. These benefits are backed by research that also indicates that regular stretching can improve blood circulation. As a result, your muscles get more oxygen and nutrients that help strengthen your muscles, improve body balance, and relieve stress.
On the other hand, if stretching is not a part of your daily routine, you are more prone to experiencing reduced joint mobility, affecting your body balance and risk of falls and injury as you age.
So set up your morning alarm a few minutes earlier or skip the last part of your favorite late-night TV show and incorporate five easy and beneficial stretches in your daily routine.
Toe touch is an excellent stretch to get started. This simple stretch brings numerous benefits to your entire body, including arms, shoulders, back, and legs. All you have to do is to sit on the floor or stand upright. Then bend and reach out for your toes. Now hold the stretch for 10 seconds and return to your original position. Repeat this stretch a few times to loosen up your arm and leg muscles.
This all-time favorite yoga pose is popular for good reasons. This stretch involves a wide range of muscles, including the back, hamstrings, arms, neck, and shoulders. It is an excellent stretch to improve blood circulation and get you started for the day. Even if you are not an expert yogi, you can do this simple stretch at home.
Start with a plank position. Now push your legs forward and hips upwards to form a triangle. With your head between your arms, you will feel the blood flowing towards your upper body. Make sure your heels are tucked to the floor. Feel the stretch for good 10 seconds, move back to plank, and repeat downward dog stretch a few times.
Cat and Cow
Do you wake up with a stiff back? Then this stretch is for you. It boosts blood circulation, strengthens your back muscles, and enhances mobility. Get into the tabletop position (on your hands and knees) on an exercise mat. Your wrists should be in line with the shoulders and knees aligned with the hips.
Now tuck in the pelvis, look down to the floor, and round your back. You should get an upward bend in your spine. Next, bend your spine inwards as you exhale. Look up with a full stretch in your neck. Repeat this pose a few times, and continue to inhale and exhale as you transition between cat and cow.
Want to strengthen the core and improve spine flexibility? Add a spinal twist to your daily stretching routine. Start by lying flat on your exercise mat and bend your knees such that the feet are flat on the floor. Then, with the upper body still, twist your left knee to the other side of the body in a way that you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold the position and count till 10. Now repeat the position with your right knee. Complete 5-10 sets of spinal twists to get moving after a long night’s sleep.
Side Oblique Stretch
With this standing side oblique stretch, you get your hips and waist muscles working. Start by standing with feet shoulder-distance apart. Start by lifting your right arm overhead and your palm facing inward. Feel the stretch on your arm and side and bend towards the left side. Hold and count till 10, then switch sides.
Performing these five stretches might only take a few minutes of your time during the day, but the results you get are bound to improve your overall health in the long run.