Whether it is before and after your work day or your work out, stretching is an activity that many skip over for the sake of time or convenience. However, the human body relies on being stretched as part of its regular muscle maintenance. Regular stretching improves flexibility, range of joint motion, circulation, posture, the power, control, and elasticity of muscles, endurance, coordination, and metabolism. It can also relieve stress and help with injury prevention and recovery. Integrating a daily stretch routine is simple, consider trying these exercises to get started. Each exercise should be completed on both sides and held for 15-30 seconds each time.
- Neck stretch – Tilt head sideways without twisting your neck. Use your hand to reach across your head and move your ear toward your shoulder without pulling your head. Keep your opposite arm relaxed at your side.
- Thigh stretch – Bend your knee pulling your foot toward your backside and hold. Use your opposite arm to maintain balance as necessary.
- Calf stretch – Lunge by bending your back knee slightly with your front leg extended. Lift the toes on your front leg (heel stays planted) and grasp them.
- Inner thigh stretch – Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Bend one knee slightly moving your hip toward your knee.
- Chest pull – Lace your fingers behind your back and roll shoulders back while extending arms slightly.
- Forearm and wrist stretch – Extend one arm forward while keeping your elbow straight. Use the other hand to bend your fingers back slightly. Then, use your other hand to gently pull the fingers downward.
- Shoulder stretch – Stand and place right hand on left shoulder. User your left hand to gently pull your right elbow across your chest toward your left shoulder.
- Lower back stretch – Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Twist slightly and lean forward to touch your toe with the opposite hand while extending your other arm behind you.
Keep in mind that you should always use personal judgment about your physical capabilities and remember that every exercise is not for everyone. Be cautious of motions that may aggravate previous injuries or other physical conditions. Stretch and flex routines should be developed with a medical provider for anyone with a significant health condition.