Stretching is just as important as exercise. It improves your flexibility, warms the muscle groups and helps alleviate muscle tightness and tension. Stretching also prevents injuries, and speeds up the recovery rate if an injury does occur.
It’s not just meant for the gym. Everybody can benefit from stretching. If you sit in front of the computer or on a desk for hours , if you wear heels a lot, or perform a lot of manual labor, then stretching should be imperative to your daily routine.
Below, you will find 10 incredibly easy but very powerful stretches that will absolutely change your life, and make you instantly feel leaner, relaxed and more energetic.
But before tying these stretches, please remember to consult with an expert if you have weak muscles, joints or any kind of injury that limits your movement.
Stretch #1 Overhead reach
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Gently lift and extend your arms straight over your head. Once above your head, clasp them together, with your palms facing the ceiling. Hold and then lower your arms.
Stretch #2 Child’s Pose
Get on your hands and knees. Then move back to let your buttocks rest on your heel. Straighten your arms forward, while touching your forehead gently to the ground. You should feel a stretch on your spine, arms, hips and shoulders.
Stretch #3 Open Arms
Stand with your feet apart, back straight and knees bend slightly. Raise your arms slowly on your sides and move them back, while still slightly below your shoulders. With your chest opened and palms facing outwards, move your arms behind your back as much as you can and then twist your wrist inward. Hold and release.
Stretch #4 Back Scratch
Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your right hand, and with the elbow bend, reach over your head towards your back. Your right elbow should pointing towards the ceiling. Then with the opposite hand, grasp the right elbow and slightly push it down.
You should feel a stretch in your triceps.
Stretch #5 Cat-Cow
Get down on all fours, with wrists below your shoulders and knees below your hip. Your back and neck in a neutral position. Then, move into a cow pose by inhaling deeply while dropping your belly towards the ground,lifting your chest up, lifting your chin and shifting your gaze upwards. Then exhale, and draw back your belly and round your back. The crown of your head should face the floor. This is the cat pose. Repeat this for 10 breaths.
Stretch #6 Hamstring Stretch
Lie down on your back, with your knees bent and both hips on the floor. Lift up your right leg slowly towards the ceiling, keeping the foot flexed. Hold the right thigh and pull it in gently to intensify the stretch. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Stretch #7 Extended Triangle
Widen your stance to up to 4 ft. Extend both your arms sideways, till they are parallel to the floor. Move your right feet out 90 degrees, and turn your left feet slightly inwards. Inhale, and extend your torso, and reach towards your right leg with your right hand. You can hold your ankles, or shin. Your left hand should be straight up.
Stretch #8 Reclining Pigeon
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Next, lift your right ankle and place it on your left knee. Take both your arms around the left leg, and clasp them behind the knee and gently pull it in towards the chest. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Stretch #9 Reclined Spinal Twist
Lie on your back with knees bent. Bring both your knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. Extend your hands out to the sides, and slowly drop both your knees to the right side. Turn your head to the left. Hold this pose for a few seconds. Then bring back your knees to the center. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch #10 Wall Stretch
Place your hands flat against the wall, extend you right leg back, about 2-3 feet of distance, and slightly bend your left knee. Press down with your heels.