Everyone’s body benefits from stretching! Especially as we age or develop pains from past injuries or chronic conditions, stretching looses tight muscles and keep our bodies moving!
Stretching also helps to correct imbalances. For example, if we sit all day, our hips become tight, also effecting our glutes and hamstrings. If we don’t stretch these muscles, they will remain in that tight position and will over time become more and more drawn to that position. Similarly, if we sit with our shoulders rounded for an extended period of time, this elongates our upper back muscles and creates a ripple effect for surrounding muscles. As with our hips, glutes and hamstrings, we need to stretch these over-worked muscles to return them to the proper lengths or they will remain in their imbalanced positions.
Stretching should be done daily and also before and after exercise. The benefits of daily stretching is to loosen the tight muscles from our daily movements. The benefits of stretching after exercise are similar, but even more important because we want to loosen the muscles we just worked!
Below are a few stretches that can help everyone!
Exercise 1. Sit on a exercise ball or edge of a chair. One foot should be stable on the ground at 90 degrees, foot turned out slightly at a diagonal. Extend the other leg straight out.
For more of a stretch, bend straight down, folding at the hips
Exercise 1. Lay on your back and draw your knees in.
Exercise 2. Place your left foot over your right leg above the knee. For more of a stretch, draw your legs in towards your chest.
Exercise 3. Cat Cow
Start in a table top position, look up round your spine. Then look down curving your spine up to the sky. Repeat.
Shoulder and Upper Back
Exercise 1. Start in a table top position left arm on the ball. For more of a stretch, slowly roll the ball to the right across your body. Be sure to keep your thumb up on while your hand is on the ball!
Exercise 2. Start with feet wide and slowly fold forward. Bring your right arm in front of you and make large circles. After 10, reverse the circle. Repeat with your left arm.
Exercise 1. Lay on the ground or mat and slowly extend your right leg up to the sky, keeping your left leg on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat other leg.
Exercise 1. Start by rolling your shoulders back. Now slowly tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear to the left shoulder. Hold. Come center and repeat other side.
Foam Rolling is also a wonderful technique used to reduce “knots” within your muscle. Foam rolling can be done daily or before and after an exercise. Those with less mobility may not find foam rolling as comfortable.
I recommend asking guidance from a personal trainer before you foam roll for the first time to ensure you are reaching the right muscles and at the proper spots.
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About the Author:
Emily Langlois is an Online Personal Trainer specializing in custom workouts to fit YOU. Your current pains, age, time limits or other responsibilities can no longer hold you back. You have a workout program designed for YOU to fit in YOUR life.
I work with a variety of clients with the majority who have some type of chronic condition or injury that’s caused them pain. I will help you find exercises for YOU to help you stay healthy, strong, happy and doing the things YOU love.