5 simple stretching exercises you need to know

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There are many benefits to regular stretching. Incorporating some stretching exercises into your workout schedule makes your workouts more efficient and safe.

Experts say an imbalance in the body increases your risk for injury because they can cause some muscles and joints to overcompensate for other ones that are too tight to engage properly. This leads to strains and discomfort.

Botle Kayamba, a fitness trainer and a health advocate, says stretching regularly has endless health benefits for your body such as helping improve flexibility, range of motion, balance, posture, increases blood flow to muscles, and is great for stress relief.

Whether you’re just learning or you’ve been exercising regularly for years, incorporating regular stretching exercises into your routine can help prevent injury and keep you performing at your best.

Improving your flexibility and mobility isn’t hard. It just takes a little time. Here are five stretching exercises:

Standing quad stretch

Stand on one leg. If you need support, hold onto something solid, such as a wall or chair, for support. Bend your right knee and bring your heel toward your buttock. Reach for your ankle with your opposite (left) hand. As you hold your leg in the bent position you will feel a slight pull along the front of your thigh and hip.

Extended puppy pose

Come to all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, your hips stacked over your knees, and the tops of your feet relaxed down. Slowly begin to walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest down toward the ground. Keep your hips over your knees and your arms shoulder-distance apart and gently release your forehead down to the ground. Activate your arms by pressing into the palms of your hands and lifting your elbows and forearms away from the ground.

Standing hamstring stretch

Stand and cross your right foot in front of your left. Slowly lower your forehead to your right knee by bending at the waist. Keep both knees straight. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.

Calves raises

Stand up straight, then push through the balls of your feet and raise your heel until you are standing on your toes. Then lower slowly back to the start.

Lunging Hip flexor stretch

Stand with your legs parallel. Take a good posture with your tailbone pointing toward the floor, the top of your head reaching for the sky, and your shoulders relaxed. Bend your right knee and step your left leg straight back onto the ball of your foot. Rest your hands gently above your right knee for stability.

Keep your lower ribs and hip bones in the same plane and pull up through the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to bring the pelvis up and back, opening the front of the hip joint. Use your abs to scoop your tailbone between your legs. Hold the stretch about 30 seconds as you breathe deeply.

Article By View Ndongeni-Ntlebi 


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