Stretching is often the most overlooked exercise. A simple 10 minute stretch in the morning can be critical to your health and overall mood for the day.
Benefits of Stretching:
- increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles
- releases tension and improves flexibility
People who stretch daily:
- have less stress
- lower blood pressure
- are less prone to injury
Try the following 5 stretches everyday to start with a fresh attitude, body, and mind.
1. Standing Side Stretch
Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders.
Standing with your right hand on your bed or a wall, cross your left leg in front of your right leg, with your feet pointing forward. Stick out your left hip and reach your left arm up and overhead, creating a line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.
Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales. With each exhale allow your muscles to relax and stretch deeper. Repeat on right.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Targets the spine, neck and shoulders.
Sitting in a straight backed chair or on the edge of a bed or chair with your legs together, lengthen your spine and rotate from the waist, placing one hand behind you and the other hand on your outer thigh for support.
For a deeper stretch in your neck, turn your gaze to look over your shoulder as well.
Hold for 2-3 deep breaths. With each exhale allow your muscles to relax and turn into the stretch more. Repeat on the other side.
3. Reclined Twist
Targets the lower back, spine, and pelvis.
Lie on a mat or your bed and hug your right knee into your chest. Then pull it over to your left in a gentle twist. Your left hand can aid in pulling the knee over. Your right arm will remain on the ground relaxed. Look straight up or gaze to the right. Work to keep your right shoulder on the mat or bed.
Hold for 2-3 deep breaths. With each exhale allow your muscles to relax and turn into the stretch more. Repeat on the left side.
4. Seated Upward Stretch
Targets the upper back, neck, shoulders, and arms.
Sitting in a straight back chair or on the edge of your bed, lace your fingers together. Raise your hands above your head, palms facing upward. Elongate your spine and feel the stretch in your rib age and arms.
Hold for 2-3 deep breaths. With each exhale allow your muscles to relax and give into the stretch more.
5. Neck and Shoulder Stretch
Targets neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Sit in a straight back chair or on the edge of your bed. Tilt your head to the left with your left ear resting on your shoulder. Hold this pose and breathe for 2-3 counts. Now, tilt your chin down and roll your head to the right about an inch, hold for 2-3 counts. Continue rolling your head to the right in small increments until your right ear is resting on your right shoulder. Repeat starting on your right side and rolling your head to the left.
Once complete, sit upright and roll your shoulders back and then forwards. Then shrug your shoulders up and down a few times.
With each stretch, hold for 2-3 seconds and allow your muscles to relax into the stretch with each exhale.
Perhaps the most important part of stretching is staying in tune with your body. Stretching can allow you to identify injuries, strained muscles, or problem areas. You can then better communicate with your Chiropractor where you are experiencing pain and what areas need attention. Targeted treatment like this is key to a quick recovery and improved performance in your daily activities.