If you suffer from stiffness or any sort of pain in your joints, you need to start stretching. Whether you experience back pain, knee pain, or even wrist pain, stretching can help all sorts of ailments. Studies have shown that stretching regularly improves your general range of motion, meaning you’re able to move more fluidly and feel less stiff.
When we sit for long periods of time, our muscles tense up. Over time, this tension builds up and affects our joints. For example, wrist pain can stem from overuse, poor posture can be caused by tight back muscles, and lower back pain can come from tightness in the legs. If you don’t stretch, your muscles will tell you — via pain.
There are hundreds of stretches. Each one targets a different part of the body. For balance, it’s good to implement a range of stretches into your morning routine, such as the five standard ones below. Hold each position for 20–30 seconds, complete them twice a day, and see how you feel after a week!
Stretches your glutes and hamstrings — helps relieve back pain
Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right foot onto your left knee and lift your left leg off the ground to create the shape of the number four. Pull your left knee towards you as you push your right knee away. Hold, then switch sides.
Door frame chest stretch
Stretches your pecs and the front of your shoulders — helps improve posture
Find an open doorway. Start by standing just under it with your arms straight up. Your palms should be facing forward and touching the frame. Step forward until your hands are behind you. Keep your shoulders down and your chest lifted to maximize the stretch.
Stretches your quadricep muscles — helps reduce knee pain
Start in a half kneeling position with your right foot forward, knee bent, and foot flat on the ground. Place your left knee on the ground with the left foot behind it. Using a couch or wall for balance, reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand. Bring your foot up towards your glutes as far as you can while maintaining a tall posture. Hold, then switch sides.
Stretches the back of your arm and your large back muscle
Start seated. Bring your right hand up and behind your neck, bending your elbow by your right ear. Use your left hand to gently pull your right elbow towards your head. Hold, then switch sides.
Cobra into child’s pose
Stretches your abs, torso, and lower back
Start by lying on your stomach with your hands placed just next to your shoulders. Press into your hands and lift your chest up towards the ceiling, keeping your lower body on the ground. Look up towards the ceiling. This is a cobra pose. Breathe for 10 seconds. Keeping your hands in place, shift your weight back and bend your knees until your hips are sitting on them.
Your arms should be straight and your head should be down. This is child’s pose. Try and relax into the position so that your chest touches the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, then shift your weight forward into the cobra position again. Repeat three times.
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
Main Photo Credit: PAstudio/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: BongkarnGraphic/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: ninikas/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Master1305/shutterstock.com