Looking forward to increasing your flexibility. Try these 8 best stretching exercises to improve your posture and flexibility.
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO STRETCHING EXERCISE
We’ve always heard of stretching our muscles as a part of warming up exercises and also as part of a workout session. Wikipedia defines stretching as a form of physical exercise which can help to increase flexibility.
Stretching involves flexing a particular muscle or tendon so that muscle becomes more elastic and gets toned. Every workout regime needs to add some amount of stretching exercises because the benefits are many!
Here are a few benefits of stretching exercises.
- Improve flexibility
Flexible muscles are always an advantage over stiff muscles. When your muscles and tendons stay flexible, it ensures that you flow from one workout position to another with ease. There are various stretching exercises for flexibility enhancement.
- Reduce muscle tightening
When muscles get tightened or less elastic, it can cause pain while working out. Difficult workout methods like HIIT or cardio exercises can become strained when the muscles lose their length and elasticity. Thus you always need to ensure that the muscles are loose and elastic so that you can have a pain free workout session.
- A wider range of motion
When the muscles are only worked out using intense exercise forms like cardio, they get tight, short and lose their flexibility thus limiting your range of motion. For example, when your range of motion is limited, you cannot properly do squats or other exercises. Allowing for body stretching exercises will enhance your range of motion around hips knees and other areas.
- Better mobility
The stretching exercises ultimately help to have better mobility in doing even mundane tasks. The daily activities like bending down or walking up the stairs won’t seem much harder as you get older if you keep up with a daily stretching routine.
- Less risk of injury
While working out, when you’re doing tough exercises, there’s always a chance of muscle injury. This can be reduced to a great extent by some flexibility exercises. When you’re only doing cardio or strength training, the muscles may end up getting contracting and reduce length. This leads to muscle imbalance, followed by severe injury risk during exercise.
Keeping all the above benefits in mind, you will naturally be wondering what are the best stretching exercises for beginners?
Let’s have a look at some stretching routines you can do in your daily life.
- Front Shoulder Stretch
Sit down on the ground or mat with your knees bent. Keep your hands behind you with fingers pointing backwards. Start sliding your hands backwards as much as you can. After a while, you will feel your front deltoids being stretched. This is when you should stop. Hold the position for one minute. Now slowly relax in the stretched position.
- The tricep stretch
You can do this while standing or sitting according to convenience. If you’re standing, make sure to keep your feet hip-width apart. First, extend your arms up and then bend the arm at the elbow. The elbow should ideally touch the middle of your back. Reach with the other hand and grasp the elbow. You may bend at the waist laterally for ease. Take deep breaths and relax. Switch between both arms.
- Forearm and wrist stretch
Stay on your hands and knees. Keep your spine neutral. Keep your hands outward, with thumbs pointed to the outside of the body and fingers toward knees. Make sure your arms are flat on the ground. Now lean back to stretch the inside of your forearms.
- Shoulder, Arms, and Latissimus Stretch
This is a great stretching exercise for your back muscles. Stay on your knees with legs bent under. Now reach forward with your arms on the floor. You may stretch one arm at a time. Stretch the sides, upper back and lower back of the body by slightly moving your hips in either direction.
- Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back on the ground or mat. Bend one of your legs keeping the foot flat on the floor. Now grab the back of the opposite leg just below the knee and pull towards the chest. Ideally, the leg should point straight upwards and then come closer to the chest. Keep the stretched leg straight. Make sure that it is not locked at the knee joint.
A similar option for hamstring stretch is to do it while standing. When standing, keep the feet hip-width apart. Let your knees be a little bent. Now bend forward by the hips so that your head is lowered to the floor. Keep your body relaxed. Meanwhile, take note to wrap your hands on the back of the legs and hold on. Relax after 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- Lower back stretch
Lie flat on your back and bend one knee. Place that knee over the opposite leg. While doing so, note that the hip rises off the floor. Your shoulders and upper torso must lie on the mat. Do this so the lower back muscles feel stretched. Take deep breaths and relax after a short while.
- Lower back stretch while lying face-down
Another lower back stretch is reminiscent of a yoga pose. Here you lie face-down on the mat with palms placed down on the mat. The legs and the body should be straight. Now stretch up so that your upper body is slowly rising from the mat. This should sufficiently stretch the muscles in the back.
- The sphinx pose
This is another way to stretch the lower back. It also works out the abs so that is an added benefit. For this, lie on your stomach as in the previous pose. Keep your legs straight. Lift your chest off the floor by balancing with your elbows and forearms. So here, in comparison to the previous pose, the hands are placed on the mat up to the elbows. Relax your shoulders and keep the pose until you feel a stretch in the lower back.
Now that you have seen some great stretching exercises to add into your workout routine, go stretch those muscles. It will provide you with many benefits, most of which you’ve seen in the beginning. So start stretching people!