Do you incorporate stretching into your daily fitness routine? You really should. Stretching helps improve your flexibility and range of motion, which is beneficial not just to your fitness but also to your overall health. When you take the time to stretch, you can also help decrease the pain of muscle tightness, stave off injury, and feel better prepared for the challenges of a busy day. Don’t think you have time? It’s easy to add this 5-minute stretch to your daily workout.
Runner’s Stretch: Starting with your feet hip-width apart, step back with your left leg and place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart, on either side of your right foot. Lower the hips to stretch the front of your left hip and leg, and when you feel the stretch, hold for 30 seconds. Then slowly straighten the front leg as much as you can, with your hands still planted on the floor, and hold for another 30 seconds before repeating on the other side. This stretch works the hamstrings, hip flexors, low back and calves.
Forward Fold: Standing with feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward, reach the hands behind you so they’ll meet behind your glutes, fingers interlaced if possible. Keep your back flat and bend at the waist, shifting the hips backward and putting your weight on your heels to stretch the backs of the legs. Let gravity pull your arms over your head, just as far as your shoulders can comfortably go, with your arms kept straight. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat. With this stretch, you’ll work your hamstrings, shoulder, low back and chest.
Seated Back Twist: Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and your left leg on top, cross the left leg further over the right and place your foot on the ground by your right knee, left knee pointing up. Twist your shoulders gently to the left while pushing against your left leg for leverage, and after you’ve gone as far as you comfortably can, hold for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side. This works the erector spinae, glutes and low back to improve back pain and increase mobility, but if you have disk or spinal problems, you may need to skip it.
Bound Angle: Sitting on the floor, back straight and soles of feet touching, place your hands on your feet and lengthen through the spine. Imagine there’s a string pulling your head to the ceiling, causing your weight to shift forward off of your tailbone. Assisting yourself with your arms, lean forward, back flat, bringing your head toward your feet, as far as is comfortable, then hold the position for 30 seconds. This is a great hip opening stretch that decreases tension in the hips and thigh muscles, working the adductors, hip flexors and glutes.
Chest Stretch in Door: You’ll need a doorway for this stretch, which works the chest, anterior deltoid and biceps. Start by standing in the middle of an open door, with your forearms on each side of the doorframe. If this isn’t possible, work one arm at a time. Lean forward into the doorway to stretch the front of the chest and shoulders, going as far as is comfortable and holding for 30 seconds. This can alleviate tightness in the chest and shoulders to promote proper posture and better breathing.
Stretching is an important part of a daily workout, and so is an athletic club that supports your workout goals and offers great exercise options. You’ll find that at the Wellbridge Family of Athletic Clubs, where we offer a wide range of classes, along with world-class training that keeps up-to-date with the latest in health and wellness. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join today or contact us to learn more.