10 stretches to keep your body healthy

Resources from self.com By Amy Marturana

Why stretching is important

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

As a NASM certified Personal Trainer with specializations in Integrated and Neuromuscular flexibility, these are some of the most beneficial stretches to ensure your body is maintaining it’s mobility & flexibility throughout the day.

here are 10 stretches to help keep your body healthy

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Standing Hamstring Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides.
  • Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward floor, while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
  • Wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.

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Lunge with spinal twist

  • Start standing with your feet together.
  • Take a big step forward with your left foot, so that you are in a staggered stance.
  • Bend your left knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your right leg straight behind you with your toes on the ground, so you feel a stretch at the front of your right thigh.
  • Place your right hand on the floor and twist your upper body to the left as you extend your left arm toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Lunging hip flexor stretch

  • Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent.
  • Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor.
  • Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Side bend stretch

  • Kneel on the floor with your legs together, back straight, and core tight.
  • Extend your left leg out to the side. Keep it perpendicular to your body (not in front or behind you).
  • Extend your right arm overhead, rest your left arm on your left leg, and gently bend your torso and right arm to the left side.
  • Keep your hips facing forward.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Frog stretch

  • Start on all fours.
  • Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor.
  • Shift your hips back toward your heels.
  • Move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.
  • Hold for for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Figure four stretch

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Lying pectoral stretch

  • Lie on your stomach with both arms extended to the sides so your body is in a T shape.
  • Push off the ground with your left hand and bend your left knee for balance as you start to roll to your right side. You should feel this in your right-side pectoral muscles.
  • As your mobility increases, you’ll be able to stretch further and roll your body further.
  • Repeat on the other side.

seated neck release

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
  • Drop your left ear to your left shoulder.
  • To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your left hand.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

extended puppy pose

  • Start on all fours.
  • Walk your arms forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
  • Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels.
  • Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

lying quad stretch

  • Lie on one side.
  • Keep your bottom leg straight and bend your top knee so your foot is by your butt.
  • Hold your top foot with your hand, pulling it toward your butt.
  • Keep your hips stable so you’re not rocking back as you pull.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

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