Stretching for Great Results
We all know that stretching is important, but it is something many of us never take the time to do. You are pinched for time anyway when you are trying to get a workout in so who has the time to stretch? Well we all should make time. Here is a nice little piece about some effective stretches you can perform any time of the year!
Stretching Is Key
Summer is here and it is luring you outside to play but the last thing you want right now is to overdo it and end up having to sit out while everybody else enjoys frolicking in the sun [Editor’s Note: love that word, "frolicking”].
To prevent debilitating injuries that will keep you from enjoying the summer months, be sure to start by stretching.
In fact, to keep muscles and joints happy and healthy, it is a good idea to stretch at least 3 times a week as well as before – and after – engaging in your favorite sports.
Before you stretch, be sure to warm up your body to prevent injuring yourself while stretching. Cold muscles are more tense and more difficult to properly stretch so walk quickly, jog slowly, or pedal easily for 5-10 minutes in order to get your blood flowing and your heart rate up then stretch each of the following muscles.
1. Standing with your knees together, pull your right foot up to your rear and hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
2. Release your right foot and repeat with the left.
1. Sit down.
2. Keeping your right leg straight out in front of you, bend the other leg in as if you were crossing your legs. The bottom of your left foot should rest against your right knee.
3. Slowly lean forward at the waist as far as you can and hold the position.
4. Sit back up slowly and repeat with legs reversed.
1. Standing straight with a slightly bent left knee, extend your right leg back with toes pointing forward.
2. Push your right heel to the floor and bend your left knee further if able.
3. Return to standing position and repeat with right foot forward.
● Hip flexors
1. Kneel down and put your left leg in front of you with your knee bent and foot flat on the floor.
2. Put your right leg back so the top of your knee is resting on the floor and push your hips forward until you feel a slight stretch.
3. Repeat with right foot forward.
● Lower back
1. Lie on the floor on your back.
2. Curl up by bringing your knees into your chest.
1. Sit down with your right leg stretched straight out in front of you.
2. Bend left leg over right leg so foot is flat on the floor.
3. Bend right elbow and rest it on the outside of your left thigh and look over your left shoulder.
4. Repeat on other side.
● Chest and shoulders
1. Lace your fingers together behind your back with palms facing in.
2. Pull up and bring your shoulder blades together.
● Upper back
1. Extend your arms forward and lace fingers together with palms facing away from the body.
2. Roll your shoulders forward and pull shoulder blades apart.
1. Extend your right arm above your head and reach behind your head for your left shoulder.
2. Grab right elbow with left hand and pull left.
3. Repeat on the left side.
When stretching, reach as directed until you feel a slight stretch and mild discomfort, not pain.
Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. For standing stretches, always keep your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent and your toes facing forwards.
For sitting stretches, be sure to keep your back straight and don’t forget to breathe.