How to stretch your tight hips!

Resources from healthline.com

Many people have tight hips, from people who spend several hours a day sitting to regular gym-goers and professional athletes. Some people are more prone to tightness in that area of their body, too. Tight hips may put you at increased risk for injury due to the increased demands on tissues that aren’t moving properly.

Read on to learn more about tight hips and what you can do to relax these muscles.

1. Foam roller stretch

You can use a foam roller to loosen up tight hips.

  1. Lie face down, with your foam roller beneath and slightly below your right hip.
  2. Place your left leg to the side with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Rest your forearms on the ground in front of you to take some of your body weight off of your hip. This will make the stretch less painful.
  4. Stretch your right leg straight out behind you, with your toes pointed backward and the front of your foot flat against the ground
  5. Slowly move backward and forward over the foam roller.
  6. For an extra stretch, add some side-to-side movement as you roll.
  7. Continue for up to 30 seconds. As you roll, identify any trigger points, or points that feel extra tight or painful. You can focus on those areas for about 10 seconds to relieve some of the tightness.
  8. Repeating with your left hip.

2. Kneeling hip flexor stretch

You can do this stretch daily to help loosen your hip flexor.

  1. Kneel on your right knee.
  2. Put your left foot on the floor with your left knee at a 90-degree angle
  3. Drive your hip forward. Maintaining a straight back, lean your torso forward.
  4. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 5 times with each leg, trying to increase your stretch each time.

3. Pigeon stretch

This stretch is commonly seen in yoga practices. It can be used daily to improve mobility in your hip flexor.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist.
  3. Place your right ankle in front of your left hip.
  4. Straighten your left leg behind you, making sure your left knee is straight and your toes are pointed.
  5. Keep your hips square.
  6. Gently lower yourself to the ground.
  7. Stay in this position for up to 10 seconds.
  8. Release the position by pushing on your hands, lifting your hips, and moving the legs back into your starting position on all fours.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

4. Spiderman stretch

The spiderman stretch can help warm up your body before a workout, or it can be used on its own or alongside other hip flexor stretches.

  1. Begin in the push-up position.
  2. Step forward with the left foot, bringing it to the outside of your left hand.
  3. Stretch the hips forward.
  4. Hold this position for two seconds, then return to start.
  5. Repeat five times to complete one rep.
  6. Repeat with the right leg.
  7. Perform three reps with each leg.

5. Butterfly stretch

This is a great stretch to practice after a workout or if you need a break from sitting in a chair.

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together, and then move your heels as close to your body as you can.
  3. Lean forward with a straight back.
  4. Push on your thighs with your elbows for a deeper stretch.
  5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

6. Horizontal squat stretch

This stretch can also help loosen your back muscles.

  1. Begin with your elbows and knees on the floor, and your knees bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Walk your knees as far apart as you can and lengthen the spine.
  3. Lower your upper body onto your forearms as you draw your hips back and down.
  4. Hold for up to 60 seconds.

7. Sitting stretch

This is a great stretch to try at your desk if you work in an office. You can also do this one while watching television or riding in a car or on an airplane.

  1. Sit on a chair with your back straight.
  2. Place your right ankle on your left knee.
  3. Fold your torso forward until you feel a gentle stretch.
  4. Hold for up to 60 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

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Interested in more blog posts about stretching? Check out “How to Improve your Posture” and “10 Stretches to Help Keep your Body Healthy”

10 Breathing Exercises to help reduce stress

Resources from Healthline.com

Take a deep breath in. Now let it out. You may notice a difference in how you feel already. Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine.

How to add breathing exercises to your day

Breathing exercises don’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. It’s really just about setting aside some time to pay attention to your breathing. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Begin with just 5 minutes a day, and increase your time as the exercise becomes easier and more comfortable.
  • If 5 minutes feels too long, start with just 2 minutes.
  • Practice multiple times a day. Schedule set times or practice conscious breathing as you feel the need.

1. Pursed lip breathing

This simple breathing technique makes you slow down your pace of breathing by having you apply deliberate effort in each breath.

You can practice pursed lip breathing at any time. It may be especially useful during activities such as bending, lifting, or stair climbing.

Practice using this breath 4 to 5 times a day when you begin in order to correctly learn the breathing pattern.

To do it:

  1. Relax your neck and shoulders.
  2. Keeping your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose for 2 counts.
  3. Pucker or purse your lips as though you were going to whistle.
  4. Exhale slowly by blowing air through your pursed lips for a count of 4.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

Belly breathing can help you use your diaphragm properly. Do belly breathing exercises when you’re feeling relaxed and rested.

Practice diaphragmatic breathing for 5 to 10 minutes 3 to 4 times per day.

When you begin you may feel tired, but over time the technique should become easier and should feel more natural.

To do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your head on a pillow.
  2. You may place a pillow under your knees for support.
  3. Place one hand on your upper chest and one hand below your rib cage, allowing you to feel the movement of your diaphragm.
  4. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling your stomach pressing into your hand.
  5. Keep your other hand as still as possible.
  6. Exhale using pursed lips as you tighten your stomach muscles, keeping your upper hand completely still.

You can place a book on your abdomen to make the exercise more difficult. Once you learn how to do belly breathing lying down you can increase the difficulty by trying it while sitting in a chair. You can then practice the technique while performing your daily activities.

3. Breath focus technique

This deep breathing technique uses imagery or focus words and phrases.

You can choose a focus word that makes you smile, feel relaxed, or that is simply neutral to think about. Examples include peacelet go, or relax, but it can be any word that suits you to focus on and repeat through your practice.

As you build up your breath focus practice you can start with a 10-minute session. Gradually increase the duration until your sessions are at least 20 minutes.

To do it:

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable place.
  2. Bring your awareness to your breaths without trying to change how you’re breathing.
  3. Alternate between normal and deep breaths a few times. Notice any differences between normal breathing and deep breathing. Notice how your abdomen expands with deep inhalations.
  4. Note how shallow breathing feels compared to deep breathing.
  5. Practice your deep breathing for a few minutes.
  6. Place one hand below your belly button, keeping your belly relaxed, and notice how it rises with each inhale and falls with each exhale.
  7. Let out a loud sigh with each exhale.
  8. Begin the practice of breath focus by combining this deep breathing with imagery and a focus word or phrase that will support relaxation.
  9. You can imagine that the air you inhale brings waves of peace and calm throughout your body. Mentally say, “Inhaling peace and calm.”
  10. Imagine that the air you exhale washes away tension and anxiety. You can say to yourself, “Exhaling tension and anxiety.”

4. Lion’s breath

Lion’s breath is an energizing yoga breathing practice that is said to relieve tension in your chest and face.

It’s also known in yoga as Lion’s Pose or simhasana in Sanskrit.

To do this:

  1. Come into a comfortable seated position. You can sit back on your heels or cross your legs.
  2. Press your palms against your knees with your fingers spread wide.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose and open your eyes wide.
  4. At the same time, open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue, bringing the tip down toward your chin.
  5. Contract the muscles at the front of your throat as you exhale out through your mouth by making a long “ha” sound.
  6. You can turn your gaze to look at the space between your eyebrows or the tip of your nose.
  7. Do this breath 2 to 3 times.

5. Alternate nostril breathing

Alternate nostril breathing, known as nadi shodhana pranayama in Sanskrit, is a breathing practice for relaxation.

Alternate nostril breathing has been shown to enhance cardiovascular function and to lower heart rate.

Nadi shodhana is best practiced on an empty stomach. Avoid the practice if you’re feeling sick or congested. Keep your breath smooth and even throughout the practice.

To do this:

  1. Choose a comfortable seated position.
  2. Lift up your right hand toward your nose, pressing your first and middle fingers down toward your palm and leaving your other fingers extended.
  3. After an exhale, use your right thumb to gently close your right nostril.
  4. Inhale through your left nostril and then close your left nostril with your right pinky and ring fingers.
  5. Release your thumb and exhale out through your right nostril.
  6. Inhale through your right nostril and then close this nostril.
  7. Release your fingers to open your left nostril and exhale through this side.
  8. This is one cycle.
  9. Continue this breathing pattern for up to 5 minutes.
  10. Finish your session with an exhale on the left side.

6. Equal breathing

Equal breathing is known as sama vritti in Sanskrit. This breathing technique focuses on making your inhales and exhales the same length. Making your breath smooth and steady can help bring about balance and equanimity.

You should find a breath length that is not too easy and not too difficult. You also want it to be too fast, so that you’re able to maintain it throughout the practice. Usually, this is between 3 and 5 counts.

Once you get used to equal breathing while seated you can do it during your yoga practice or other daily activities.

To do it:

  1. Choose a comfortable seated position.
  2. Breathe in and out through your nose.
  3. Count during each inhale and exhale to make sure they are even in duration. Alternatively, choose a word or short phrase to repeat during each inhale and exhale.
  4. You can add a slight pause or breath retention after each inhale and exhale if you feel comfortable. (Normal breathing involves a natural pause.)
  5. Continue practicing this breath for at least 5 minutes.

7. Resonant or coherent breathing

Resonant breathing, also known as coherent breathing, is when you breathe at a rate of 5 full breaths per minute. You can achieve this rate by inhaling and exhaling for a count of 5.

Breathing at this rate maximizes your heart rate variability (HRV), reduces stress, and, according to one 2017 study, can reduce symptoms of depression when combined with Iyengar yoga.

To do this:

  1. Inhale for a count of 5.
  2. Exhale for a count of 5.
  3. Continue this breathing pattern for at least a few minutes.

8. Sitali breath

This yoga breathing practice helps you lower your body temperature and relax your mind.

Slightly extend your breath in length but don’t force it. Since you inhale through your mouth during Sitali breath, you may want to choose a place to practice that’s free of any allergens that affect you and air pollution.

To do this:

  1. Choose a comfortable seated position.
  2. Stick out your tongue and curl your tongue to bring the outer edges together.
  3. If your tongue doesn’t do this, you can purse your lips.
  4. Inhale through your mouth.
  5. Exhale out through your nose.
  6. Continue breathing like this for up to 5 minutes.

9. Deep breathing

Deep breathing helps to relieve shortness of breath by preventing air from getting trapped in your lungs and helping you to breathe in more fresh air. It may help you to feel more relaxed and centered.

To do this:

  1. While standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand.
  2. Take a deep inhalation through your nose.
  3. Retain your breath for a count of 5.
  4. Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose.

10. Humming bee breath (bhramari)

The unique sensation of this yoga breathing practice helps to create instant calm and is especially soothing around your forehead. Some people use humming bee breath to relieve frustration, anxiety, and anger. Of course, you’ll want to practice it in a place where you are free to make a humming sound.

To do this:

  1. Choose a comfortable seated position.
  2. Close your eyes and relax your face.
  3. Place your first fingers on the tragus cartilage that partially covers your ear canal.
  4. Inhale, and as you exhale gently press your fingers into the cartilage.
  5. Keeping your mouth closed, make a loud humming sound.
  6. Continue for as long as is comfortable.

The Take Away

You can try most of these breath exercises right away. Take the time to experiment with different types of breathing techniques. Dedicate a certain amount of time at least a few times per week. You can do these exercises throughout the day.

Check in with your doctor if you have any medical concerns or take any medications. If you want to learn more about breathing practices you can consult a respiratory therapist or a yoga teacher who specializes in breathing practices. Discontinue the practice if you experience any feelings of discomfort or agitation.

How to improve your posture

Resources from girlslivingwell.com

You can improve your posture at any age, but the sooner the better. The longer you wait with aiding your posture, the more damage you can put on your body. The best way to improve it is to start taking measures in your daily life and be conscious of wanting to improve. The good news is that changing posture is very much possible.

Here are some tips & tricks to help improve your posture!

1. Get in the right mindset and recruit a friend
  • Being aware of wanting to make a change is a great first step in improving your posture. Make a plan of what steps you are going to take and give yourself a pep talk. Be kind to yourself and keep up the motivation. It takes up to 5 weeks to make new actions habits and so create a timeline and keep it. Can also recommend recruiting a friend for accountability and motivation.
2. Focus on not slouching
  • Just focusing on not slouching is another great way to improve your posture. Make reminders on your phone or post-its in your house and it will go a long way in helping you stand and sit straighter.
3. Look up more
  • Day after day of looking down is bad for your posture. The head is tilted, and stress is put on the muscles and joints of the neck. This stress alongside straining the eyes can cause headaches and prolonged poor posture will eventually lead to degeneration and poor posture. Holding your phone straight in front of your face (as if you were taking a photo) and lifting your PC screen will help your posture.
4. The right fit bra and comfortable clothing.
  • Having the wrong bra can impact your posture as it can inhibit a muscle called serratus anterior and this muscle needs to be strong to give you a good posture. When this muscle gets weak it will cause shoulders to roll forward and cause your shoulder blades to wing and your back to slouch. The best is to wear a bra that has no wires or the very least wear one that is the correct size and not too tight.
5. Stretch
  •  Make sure to incorporate a stretching routine for the neck and back. Stretching these muscles will help muscles get relief, decrease tension, and help your posture. As little as 5 minutes can do wonders and a good way to incorporate stretching is to do it while watching TV.

Keep reading for 4 quick stretches that will help you get there!

Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply

Forward Fold

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Downward Facing Dog

This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Pigeon Pose

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.

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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

This image may contain Fitness Sport Sports Exercise Working Out Human Person and Yoga

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.

Image may contain Human Person Exercise Sport Sports Working Out Fitness and Female

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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