Stretching your body on a daily basis is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy without tiring yourself out completely. While it is common knowledge that workouts are beneficial for the human body, it is kind of utopic to believe that one would want to voluntarily engage in rigorous exercise every single day. This is where stretching comes in. It is a form of less tiring exercise which has numerous health benefits. Firstly, it helps to improve the flexibility of the body so that it can become more agile leading to lesser injuries in the future.
While stretching alone is good for the body, if you couple it with rigorous workouts, it can work its magic there as well. It has been proven by research that doing light stretches before and after your workouts can help the body to warm up and cool down in an effective manner. This can help to reduce the chances of getting injured in the process. Even though injuries are a part and parcel of life and can be usually treated with a hot and cool pack in tow, stretching helps to increase your range of motion thereby lessening them. Now that we have seen how useful stretching can prove to be in our normal life, let us find out about the common stretches that we can do daily to reap all of its benefits.
- Shoulder Stretch:
Shoulders are the parts of your body which tend to carry the most of your stiffness. This can be because of poor sitting and walking posture. Or it can also occur if you do not sleep in a proper position at night. Doing a shoulder stretch is simple enough. All you need to do is to lock your arms behind your back and push outwards. Then you can take them upwards and again push them as far as your arms can go. You can also periodically rotate your shoulders forwards and backwards a couple of times to instantly reduce any stiffness in them.
Doing lunges on a regular basis is associated with stronger leg muscles and lesser knee stiffness. There are chances that you may already know how to do these as lunges are a pretty popular form of exercise. But even if you do not, we will try to explain it here. Take your leg forward and balance your weight on that leg for sometime. Keep switching your weight forward and backward. This will help to work your lower back as well as thigh muscles. You can then repeat the same procedure with your other leg.
- Upward And Downward Dog Position:
If you are unfamiliar with yoga then you are seriously missing out on a great form of exercise. Although yoga has some pretty amazing stretching exercises, the upward and downward dog positions can really pull all of the stiffness out from your back. For this, first you need to bend down and touch the ground while standing, keeping some distance between your arms and legs. Then slowly you can ease your torso down on the ground with your whole body on the floor, just your upper body stretching upwards. This helps to make your back more flexible and release any pent up tension in your back bone. If you regularly suffer from back pain, then make this stretching routine a staple in your workouts.
- Back Stretching:
Another great back stretch is of the child’s pose in yoga. It is one of the most relaxing stretches which really helps to work your back muscles so that they become more flexible in the long run. For the best results, you should do this stretch at least once a day to really see a difference. As is indicated in the picture above, the child’s pose is very easy to do. All you have to do is to sit with your legs folded. Then you have to bend forward till your arms and upper body are flat on the ground completely. You can repeat this as many times as it is comfortable for you.
- Chest Stretch:
A commonly ignored part of your body are the chest muscles. These can become tight and provide discomfort due to poor posture and slouching. A good way to open them up is to regularly engage yourself in chest stretches. This is one the simplest stretch to do on this list so there really is no reason for you to avoid doing this. All you need to do is to stand with your arms fully open and at level with your chest while holding some support. Move your chest slowly forward till you feel a stretch. Keep repeating this till you get tired. Once your chest muscles open up, you will also feel yourself being able to breathe much better.
- Arm Twist:
Arm twists are great for strengthening your arm muscles and releasing any tension that you tend to carry in your arms. All you need to do to accomplish this is to bend one arm across your chest and lock the other arm around it. Then push the locked arm towards your chest to stretch the bent arm. Once you have done this, you can switch to the other arm to stretch it. This may seem complicated but is actually really easy to do and the best part is that it can literally be done anywhere and at any time.
- Neck Stretch:
Many people these days suffer from aches in their necks due to bad posture from using their digital devices all throughout the day. Since you can not wave goodbye to your devices, it is important to strengthen your neck muscles instead. This is where the neck stretch comes into the picture. Move your neck in a clockwise motion making sure to fully stretch it at all points. Then rotate it in an anti clockwise motion. Just doing this on a regular basis can release the pent up pressure from your neck.
Stretching provides many health benefits of an actual workout without being as tiring as one. This is the reason why so many people are now turning towards it. If you still haven’t tried stretching, you should definitely give it a chance with these basic stretches. Do let us know if they were able to help you or not.