Stretching offers numerous benefits, including improved flexibility, releasing tension, preventing injury, and improving body posture.
It also improves blood circulation to the brain and throughout the body, activates the parasympathetic system, and produces endorphins, which alleviate stress and leaves you feeling relaxed.
As such, it is important to incorporate stretching into your everyday life. You may stretch as part of your warm-up or cooldown during exercise.
You can have a stretching routine that you do first thing in the morning when you wake up or at the end of the day to help you relax for a good night’s sleep or any other time that you like.
Below is a stretching routine that will help you relax and improve your flexibility.
As the name suggests, this posture stretches and lengthens your entire body.
Come to a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Straighten your arms and reach them up over your head. Bring your palms to touch with your finger pointed upwards. Press your feet firmly on the ground and stretch your hands as high up as possible.
You can incorporate a small backbend to open your chest and lengthen your spine by bending slightly backward from the hips pushing forward.
Hold the full body stretch for at least 30 seconds as you breathe deeply in and out. Release your hands beside your body and stand in an upright position.
The standing side bend will stretch the side of your body and the spine.
With your feet standing at a hip-width distance, reach your right hand up. Keep the left hand beside your body. Bend your torso to the left, taking your right hand over your head towards the left. Hold for at least 20 seconds and then resume the standing position. Switch sides.
The bird dog builds your core strength, lengthens the entire body, and improves your balance.
Come to an all-fours position with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Straighten your right hand in front of you and the left leg behind you. Tighten your core and hold this position for 30 seconds. Release and come back to an all-fours position. Switch sides.
The cat and cow stretch improves spine mobility and stretches the hamstrings, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms.
Come to an all-fours position with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Inhale as you arch your back and look up. Exhale as you round your back and drop your chin towards your chest. Repeat five times.
The plank position will stretch the entire body and strengthen your core. It also generates internal heat that leaves you feeling invigorated and rejuvenated.
From the all-fours position, tuck your toes and straighten your knees, forming a straight line from your head to your toes. Engage your abs and hold for at least 20 seconds.
The cobra pose stretches the entire front side of your body. It also strengthens the back, glutes, and thighs.
Lie on your belly. Bend your elbows and bring your palms beside your ribs. With the tops of your toes pressing down, firmly press your hands down and lift your chest. Take your shoulders back and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
The child’s pose is a relaxing position which releases tension from your hips and back and increased blood flow to your head.
From to an all-fours position, push your hips backward and sit on your heels. You may keep your knees together or open to the side for a deeper hip opening feel. Drop your chest as close to the ground as possible and reach your hands in front. Let your forehead rest on the ground. Hold for at least 30 seconds as you breathe deeply.
The downward dog stretches the entire body and also builds strength and invigorating internal body heat.
From an all-fours position, tuck your toes and press your palms down. Begin to lift your knees off the ground as you straighten them and push your hips upwards to form an inverted V position with your body. Lift your shoulders away from your ears. Look at the space between your feet and hold for at least 30 seconds.
The lunge is another invigorating stretch that strengthens and lengthens the leg muscles and the upper body.
From the downward dog position, step your right foot between your hands. Either lift your hands or clasp them behind. For a deeper stretch on the hip and thighs, shift your hips slightly forward. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Return to the downward dog position and switch sides.
This stretching exercise deeply stretches the entire backside of your legs and releases muscle tightness and tension in the lower back.
Sit upright and open your legs as wide as possible to the sides. With your peace fingers, reach for your big toes. Alternatively, hold on to your ankles or shins. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.
This one lengthens and releases tension from the entire backside of your body and the arms.
While seated upright, bring your feet together. Lengthen your torso and bend forward from the hips. Allow your chest to rest on your thighs or as close as possible. With your hands, either hold the shins or feet.
The waterfall encourages blood flow to the brain for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Lie on your back with your hands straightened beside your body. Reach your feet up such that the upper part of your body and your legs form a right angle. To make this pose restorative, place a pillow under your lower back and place your feet on a table or stool with your knees bent. Stay in this stretching exercise position for at least 60 seconds or as long as you want.
There you have it, a quick full body stretch routine that you can do on its own or as part of your cooldown after an intense workout.