You’ve probably heard that stretching is vital for athletes. It can improve performance and prevent injury. However, if you’re not an athlete, do you really need to do it?
The simple answer is: Yes. Why is it important to have a daily stretching routine, even if your longest walk is from your car to your desk at work? Stretching increases your range of motion and improves circulation. It also helps with posture, something you may need after slouching over your kitchen table as you’ve worked from home for the last year.
If you barely (or don’t) have time to work out, you may feel like you definitely don’t have room in your schedule for even a quick stretch routine. We bet you do. Here’s a daily stretching routine you can do in less than 10 minutes.
Lower body stretches
Sitting at a desk may be lower-impact than running 10 miles before sunrise, but it’s still important to stretch out your legs. If you’re sitting in the same position for most of your day, it can cause stiffness and poor circulation. Combat them with these stretches:
Downward dog with calf stretch
- Get into a tabletop position on all fours. Place your hands directly under your wrists and knees under your hips.
- Tuck your toes under. With your palms rooted firmly on the floor, lift your hips into the air. Straighten your legs without locking your knees. Roll shoulders back and down.
- Alternate bending one leg while keeping the opposite leg straight. You should feel a stretch int he calf muscle of your straight leg. Hold for about five seconds before switching legs. Repeat five times on each side.
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart.
- Keeping legs straight, bend at the hips to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Modifications: If you cannot touch your toes, that’s okay. Put your hands on your ankles or shins, whatever is most comfortable for you. While you’re down there, you can add some movement to your neck by nodding yesses or noes. It might help reduce stiffness and increase mobility in your upper body. You can also take this pose sitting down.
Standing quad stretch
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your left knee and grab your left foot with your left hand. Pull it towards your glutes and squeeze your glutes. Press your foot into your hand to create some resistance.
- Hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
- Modification: You can hold onto a wall or chair for support during this pose.
Seated figure four
- Sit on the ground with hands pressing into the floor. Bend knees so they are facing up towards the ceiling at 90-degree angles.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee, so you make a figure four. Keep your right foot flexed. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch sides.
- Modification: To deepen the stretch, pull your bottom knee towards your chest.
Upper body stretches
Staring at your phone all day can cause “tech neck,” and carrying a heavy bag (or child or pet) around can make shoulders feel stiff. Work out the kinks by adding these stretches to your daily routine.
- Lie on your left side. Place your hands together, as if you are about to clap, in front of you on your left side. Knees should also be touching.
- Raise your right arm over your chest and place it on the floor on the right side, shifting your gaze along with your arm. Legs should stay put. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Bring your hands back together on your left side. Repeat five times. Switch sides and repeat.
Overhead tricep stretch
- Reach up towards the ceiling with your left arm. Bend it at the elbow and place it behind you. Pretend you are trying to reach something between your shoulder blades.
- Take your right hand and gently push down on the elbow.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Implementing a daily stretching routine is important, whether you’re training for a marathon or trying to crush your 9-to-5. It boosts posture and reduces muscle pain. However, as relaxing as a 90-minute yoga session might sound, not everyone has the time for that. That’s okay. You can still reap the benefits by working a quick stretch routine into your day. Even taking five to 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed to stretch out can do wonders for your muscles. Try to do stretches that work various muscles to ensure you’re giving your full body some much-needed TLC. Be sure to make modifications as you need them. Remember: You should feel like you’re stretching, not straining.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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