You are eating right and doing all the right things to lose weight or want to gain some strength. Obviously, this will require a little work. There are many ways to achieve these goals, including simple stretches that you can do at home.
Not everyone has the time to visit the gym on a daily basis, but this is not your only option for getting in better shape. Compared to sitting around and doing nothing, stretching can help you burn some calories and strengthen some of your muscles.
Stretching can be used for more than a warm-up or cool-down for your main workout. Spending some time stretching can help you burn just as many calories as a gentle yoga routine. For example, a half-hour of stretching could burn up to 100 calories, while sitting around will only burn 22 calories.
Along with burning calories, stretching is a relaxing activity and can help you relax. Deep breathing and slow movements can increase the relaxation benefits of stretching. It will release tension in your muscles and slow your heart rate.
If you are currently doing nothing to help yourself lose weight, tone muscles, or reduce your stress levels, then start incorporating these 6 simple stretches into your daily routine.
1. The Hip Stretch
Start the hip stretch by kneeling on the floor. Bring your right knee in front of you, so that your foot is flat on the floor. Slowly lean forward, so that your left leg begins to extend. As you lean, keep your left knee on the floor. You should eventually feel the front of your right hip and thigh begin to stretch.
Hold this pose for 20 seconds.
After returning to the starting position, switch legs and lean forward on your left leg, so that you can stretch your left hip and thigh. Repeat with each leg several times.
2. The Inner Thigh and Groin Stretch
Sit on the floor, with your back straight and your legs in front of you. Bring your feet together, with your knees out to the side.
Lower your knees as close to the floor as you feel comfortable with. Hold your ankles and lean forward. As you lean forward, press your forearms into your knees, so that your knees gently lower towards the floor.
Hold this pose for 20 seconds and then gently return to the starting position. Repeat the stretch several times for maximum benefit.
3. The Seal Stretch
This aptly named stretch will help stretch out your spine, which can help alleviate lower back pain from your workouts. It is also a good way to burn a few extra calories.
To start, lay face down on the floor. Slowly raise your upper body using your arms. As you straighten your arms, make sure that you keep your head up.
Hold the position for five seconds and then twist your body to the right. Hold for five seconds and then twist to the left for another five seconds. Slowly return to the starting position. Try to avoid stretching your hips as you twist your body.
4. The Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back, with your arms to your side and your legs straight on the floor.
Use your hands to gently pull your left leg up and towards your chest. Continue pulling until you feel a stretch along your hamstring.
Hold the pose for twenty seconds and slowly return the starting position before switching legs.
5. The Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall. Keep your right leg forward, foot flat on the floor, and extend your left leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor.
Don’t bend your back knee. With both your palms flat on the wall as if pushing the wall, lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of the straight leg.
Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
6. Touch Your Toes
Touching your toes can lengthen your spine and relieve muscle stress along your shoulder, back, hips, and legs. This is a set of two stretches that involve touching your toes.
First, stand up straight with your arms at your side. Bend at your hips and try to touch your toes. Reach as far as you can and hold the pose for 20 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
For the other stretch, sit on the floor, with your legs extended in front of you. Stretch forward, reaching your fingertips towards your toes. Again, reach as far as you can and hold the pose for twenty seconds. Slowly return to the starting position.
Repeat these stretches several times.
These simple stretches should help you burn calories and lose weight, especially if you work a sedentary job, or are not currently performing any exercises. Some people also notice that once they get up and start moving around, it becomes easier to motivate themselves to perform an actual workout routine.
Start with these stretches to get your blood flowing and burn calories. As the weeks go by, try to add more moderate exercises to your day.