Stretching improves your posture and flexibility, plus, it gives your insides a boost. SkinnyMs.com advises that, “stretching increases the blood supply to muscle tissues, and your entire body delivering essential nutrients through your bloodstream.”
Doing it is really quite simple: lengthening the body or a single body part to its maximum capacity. You should be able to feel the stretch but it shouldn’t be painful. Here are the best stretches for your lifestyle.
People Who Sit All Day
According to a recent study, sitting is the worst. If you spend your 9-5 seated it’s imperative that you stretch daily. Sitting for a long period of time rounds out your back. The cat-cow yoga stretches will open your spine and even help with headache tension.
Do It: Get on all fours on a mat or towel. Breathe in, round your spine and drop your head (cat), breathe out, lift your chest and arch your back (cow). Repeat five times.
If you’re at a computer, odds are you’re hunching over at the keyboard. Shoulder rolls will help you straighten up and release tension. People who spend all day at a screen tend to overwork their wrists, which can lead to tendonitis or carpal tunnel. Simple wrist and finger stretches can be done sitting at your desk when you start to feel sore.
Do It: Shrug your shoulders up and rotate backwards then do the same motion forwards. Repeat up to 20 times.
Do It: With your hand stretched out in front of you, palm facing out and fingers pointed to the ground, spread your fingers wide and gently pull back on each finger, holding for a breath. Careful not to let your fingers ball up and keep your shoulders relaxed. Repeat with other hand.
People Who Stand All Day
Standing all day might not be as bad as sitting all day but it is still taxing. Restaurant workers, hairstylists and retailers are just a few of the jobs where people are on their feet for eight-plus hours. Naturally your feet and legs are going to tense up when you’re pounding the pavement so releasing the tightness in your legs will do a world of good.
Do It: Find the edge of a step or the curb and stand with the balls of your feet right on the step with your heels dangling. Raise up on your toes a few inches and then lower back down. Repeat 10 times.
Whether your job keeps you on the road or you have wanderlust, spending hours in a cramped position causes stiffness and when you’re flying your body dehydrates and swells. Stretching and bringing blood into your muscles, especially in the neck and back, is incredibly important for travelers. Slow stretches for the entire body can be done anywhere but be cautious and don’t perform any of the stretches while operating a vehicle.
Do It: Release tension in your neck by slowly bending your head backwards to look up. Hold for a few seconds and then bend downward for the few seconds. Repeat five times.
Do It: During a pit stop or standing in the aisle of a plane or train, stand hip-distance apart and bend at the waist reaching toward your toes. Hold the pose for 20 seconds and slowly stand upright. Repeat.
According to physical therapist Doug Schrift, “as we age our mobility may become restricted due to decreased activity levels, prolonged bed rest and extended wheelchair use.” This can lead to pain and stiffness. For those of a certain age, it’s important to keep your thighs strong and movement in your hips with low impact squats.
Do It: Hold the back of a chair for support. Spread legs about hip-distance and slowly bend knees. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat two times.
“Pregnant women are not aligned the same way they were before pregnancy,” Dr. Susan Warchaizer, an OBGYN at Boston Medical Center told FitPregnacy.com. Pregnant women suffer from frequent leg cramps and swollen ankles so daily calf stretches are a must. Using a wall to stabilize the stretch lets your body relax into the movement while keeping balance.
Do It: Stand at a wall with one leg in front of the other with your back leg straight, heel on the floor and lunge forward using your arms to stabilize on the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf muscle. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.