Stretching is something that we should all do on a daily basis to relieve stress and tension within our bodies. If you don’t already have a stretching routine in place, it’s time to learn some simple stretches that will help to ease your aches and pains. Keep reading as we share some of our favorite stretches that will help to improve your wellbeing.
The Power of Habit
by Charles Duhigg
⏱ 14 minutes reading time
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Start your stretching routine on the floor in a simple child’s pose. You’ll want to drape your body over your legs, with your arms either left by your sides or stretched out in front of you. Child’s pose is a posture that’s used at the start and end of many yoga classes, as it helps to calm the body and regulate the nervous system. It can release tension you are holding in your back as well, which is something many of us struggle with after spending the day in front of the computer. Stay here for a few minutes until you feel your mind start to calm down, and you’ll be ready to progress to the next stretch.
Cat-cow is a more active stretch, which will help to reduce the tension in your lower back. Start on your hands and knees, then gently move between the arched back position and the rounded back position. Breathe deeply as you move. Do this very slowly to begin with, so that you can really feel into any areas of tension in your back. You can then add small circles and intuitive movements to help ease that tension. Cat-cow is the perfect way to wake up each morning and get the good energy flowing through your body before a busy day of sitting in front of a computer.
From cat-cow, you can extend your legs up into a V-shape for downward-facing dog. Even if you aren’t familiar with yoga, you’ll find that this is one of the most common stretches in this practice, thanks to the many benefits it offers. While this posture can feel a little challenging if you are very tight in your legs, within a few days, you’ll find that it gets much easier. This position works to open up your chest, improve your arm strength, and lengthen the backs of your legs. You’ll want to add a soft bend to the knees if you are struggling to fully straighten your legs, and don’t worry too much about the heels being able to touch the ground. Start by taking five deep breaths in this position and relaxing as much as you can to feel the full benefits of this stretch.
Thread the Needle
Once you’ve completed downward-facing dog, return to your hands and knees for thread the needle. You’ll take your arms one at a time, and push one arm underneath the body to stretch the shoulders and upper back. Once you’ve completed one side, return through center and turn to the other side. This is a great stretch for anyone who sits in front of a computer all day long or feels knots and tension in their shoulders.
Stretching doesn’t always have to be a serious activity, which is why we encourage you to have some fun with your stretches. Tree pose is a great pose for beginners to try, and it also acts as a good mood boost at the same time. It will test your balance while also lengthening the body. Make sure you do this posture on both sides though, as otherwise your body won’t feel balanced.
Stand on one leg, and raise the other leg to place your foot against your standing leg. You can either keep the foot just above the ankle, or place it above the knee for the full posture. Keep your hands either together in front of your chest or raise them above your head for more of a challenge. The great thing about this type of stretch is that you can continue to challenge yourself as you progress, so you’ll always find a way to enjoy the many benefits of stretching each morning or evening.
Legs Up the Wall
After a busy day of rushing around, we need to calm our body and mind to get a good night of sleep. At the end of the day, we recommend taking a few minutes to enjoy legs up the wall. As the name suggests, you’ll simply place your legs in an L-shape, resting against a wall or cupboard in your home. Make sure you stay in this position for a few minutes to help your legs drain from walking around all day. This can also help to release any lower back tension, so that you can sleep soundly without aches and pains. We particularly recommend doing this stretch if you’ve been walking or running, as it will reduce the chance of pain in the morning when you wake up.
By following this simple stretching routine, you’ll notice a huge improvement to your overall wellbeing. Stretching is something we should all do for a few minutes each morning and evening, so that we can enjoy improved flexibility and mobility. You’ll also find that when you stretch before bed, you fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges that come the next day. We encourage you to start taking a few minutes each day to look after your body and mind, so that you can enjoy an improved quality of life in the future. The sooner you start stretching, the more flexible your body will become, helping you to continue enjoying the activities you love.
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