Our muscles hold a lot of tension, especially after a tough workout or a long day at the office. Stretching immediately after a workout and throughout the day cant help alleviate some of that tension, as well as prevent strain and injury.
Here are eight full-body stretches that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. If you practice yoga, you may already be familiar with some of these techniques.
- With your fingers interlaced, raise your arms overhead with upward facing palms.
- Your arms should stay aligned with the ears. Look straight ahead, relax the shoulder blades.
- As you exhale, make a conscious effort to release shrugged shoulders and let them fall down your back.
- Hold this stretch for 5 full breaths.
- Release your arms back down to your sides, roll your shoulders frontward and backward, and then repeat the whole stretch again.
- Sitting or standing up straight, bring one arm across your chest.
- With the other hand, gently put pressure on your straightened arm pushing it further back, as if to help you scratch an itch on your back.
- Be sure to keep your shoulders down (no shrugging)
- Hold this for 3 to 5 breaths and do the other side.
- This is a great relaxation stretch if you sit at a computer all day.
- Raise your right arm and bend it so your hand falls behind your head.
- With your left hand, grab the right elbow and gently press downward.
- This stretch will feel several kinds of amazing after a hard triceps workout.
- Release the right elbow and repeat on the other side.
Back And Neck Stretch
- With feet hip distance apart, bend forward over your legs.
- If tight hamstrings prevent you from doing this, bend your knees slightly.
- Fold your arms and let your arms and head be pulled down with gravity.
- This is a very gentle stretch so do not force it. Let gravity do the work and relax into the stretch.
- Moving your head in a “yes” and “no” motion further relaxes your neck.
- Lay on the floor, on your back with your knees bent.
- Place your right foot on your left knee. Now with both hands, grab behind your left leg and gently pull.
- You’re pulling your right foot and left knee toward you.
- You will feel the stretch in your right glute and hip flexor.
- This simple stretch releases so much tension in your butt it will be a new favorite.
- If you are super tight, this stretch may take some practice but truly it is one of the best.
Downward Facing Dog
- Bend at the waist and walk your hands out until your body makes an upside down “V” shape.
- Let your head fall and relax the shoulders and neck.
- As you keep your arms straight, press your hands into the floor, raise your sit bones and lower your heels.
- This is where you will get that wonderful stretch in the backs of your legs.
- Don’t force your heels down; with practice they will drop more and more easily.
- As you’re in the downward dog, lift one leg up as high as you can, making a straight line from foot to hand on that side.
- Now on the raised leg, bend the knee and let the weight of your foot draw your hip muscles open even more.
- Repeat on both legs.
- Start in a tabletop position, lying face forward on a mat.
- Bring one foot up in front of you on the ground and bend your knee and rest that leg on the ground.
- Bring the opposing leg out straight behind you.
- You can remain with your upper body straight, or curl forward and rest your head or forearms on the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute before switching leg positions. Complete 2-3 times on each side.