As we get older, our bodies—unless we make stretching a priority—get less flexible and becomes stiff. Having a flexible body has many health benefits. Getting, and staying, flexible can help you to:
- Reduce the risk of exercise-related and other injuries
- Improve circulation
- Release stress more easily
- Maintain proper posture
One of the reasons our bodies naturally want to stretch when we wake up or after we’ve been sitting for long periods of time is because our bodies innately understand the benefits of stretching and staying flexible.
Here are some stretches you can focus on that will help you to increase your flexibility in just 30 days.
Leg and Hamstring Stretches
Touching your toes while standing (try to work up to getting your hands flat on the floor with straight knees) or sitting and reaching for your toes will do wonders for stretching your legs and hamstrings. Be sure to use slow movements, rushing can result in injury.
Another way to stretch both your hamstrings and your calves is to stand straight with your feet hip-width apart, slowly bend at the hips, going down as far as you can go. Relax and keep the position for 30 seconds, focusing on how your calves and hamstrings feel. Then slowly return to a standing position.
The core is the center of balance for the human body, therefore it’s important to keep it flexible. Try this exercise for keeping the core flexible:
Stand up straight with your legs apart. Reach your right arm over your head toward your left side.
Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Stretching the back helps keep the spine in tip-top shape. Daily back stretching exercises have been shown to do wonders for those who suffer from lower back pain.
Back Stretch #1:
Lie on the floor, legs straight and arms at your side. Keeping your left leg straight, lace your hands together and place your hands over the top of your knee as you pull your right knee into your chest as high as you can.
Hold the position for 30 seconds or as long as you can. Slowly release the leg back to a straight position on the floor, and repeat with the left leg. Do this 2-5 times on each side every day.
Back Stretch #2:
Lie flat on the floor, legs straight out. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor, and put your hands behind your right knee, pulling it into your chest while keeping the lower part of your leg slightly raised.
If you can, straighten your left leg so it’s flat on the floor, but only do this if there’s little or no pain. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
Slowly let the leg down so that it lands with your foot on the floor, leg still bent. Repeat on the other leg.
By doing daily stretches such as these for 30 days, you should find that you have increased your flexibility immensely.
A more flexible body will help you avoid stiff and sore joints, have better posture, and will contribute to better overall health, so start your flexibility program today!
As with any exercise program, it’s important to consult your physician before beginning a stretching routine.