Enhance your flexibility and loosen your tight and overworked limbs with these daily body rejuvenating stretches.
If you’re working a desk job then your hips and hamstrings are stuck in a shortened position all day, while the overstretched muscles in your back are getting kinks if you hunch — which usually leads to lower back pain. A study found that just one 30-second stretch three times a week can significantly lengthen hamstrings in four weeks. Try these stretch routines daily to help relax your body, and improve your flexibility.
Shoulders and Chest
Sitting stooped over a desk and rarely having to reach overhead mean chest muscles are continually restricted. Loosening up the chest and shoulders will help you reach behind more easily to do things like clasp your bra.
Our spines are built to move, so static, everyday activities like driving and standing in line eventually pull on the discs in your lower back, and that’s what hurts. Proper stretches keep you mobile and help prevent this ouch.
Calling all desk jockeys: Make it a point to get up and walk around at least once every half hour. Otherwise,hamstrings remain shortened and become stiff.
If you sit with your legs crossed all the time, you make your inner thigh muscles steely. Too much of that can cause tension and pain in your knees.
Wearing high heels puts your feet in a downward-slanting position that automatically shortens calf muscles. Too much tip-toe strolling over time causes those muscles to remain short even when you’re in flats.
Rules for Stretching
Get moving for five to 10 minutes prestretch to make cold muscles more pliable.
Match the Occasion
The stretches shown here fall into the static category, in which a muscle or group of muscles is gradually stretched to the point of limitation. You should feel a mild, even tension and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds. Save these moves for your cool-down. Preworkout, try dynamic stretches, like slow, high-knee marches and jumping-jack arm swings, to rev your muscles into action.
Ballistic, or bouncy, movement is a no-no when you’re holding a stretchy pose.
Don’t Press Your Luck
Stretch only to the point of tension. If your muscles start to tremble, you’re pushing too far. Overstretching can cause muscle strains, which are actually injured fibers.