There are many reasons why having a flexible body is essential to our well-being as flexibility prevents everyday injury including muscle and disc strains that occur when turning over in bed or getting out of bed. Flexibility also improves your posture and lengthens your muscles for a longer and leaner look.
To increase your flexibility, you can start with about 10 minutes of stretching a day, focusing on the major muscle groups: upper body (arms, shoulders, neck), back, and lower body (thighs, calves, ankles). Then, depending on how you typically spend your time, focus on specific stretches for problem-prone areas. For example, if spend most of your time sitting on your work desk, you’ll want to give extra attention to your lower back and shoulders. If you don’t have 10 minutes a day to spare, stretching just a few times a week can be nearly as beneficial.
Below is the daily stretch that you can do to increase your flexibility. Remember, before starting your daily stretch, warm up your muscles before you begin with a short walk or some jumping jacks. For each move, breathe out as you stretch. As you ease into each stretch, you’ll feel the muscles relax a bit due to increased blood flow.
For your upper body
This kind of stretch is especially helpful if you sit at a desk all day, need to work on your posture, or carry tension in your upper body. Here are the steps:
- Place your hands on the back of your head and gently push it forward with your chin tucked. Hold for five seconds.
- Then, place the heels of your hands on your chin, fingers pointing toward your ears. Gently push your head back, and hold for five seconds.
- Rest your right hand on the top of your head and gently press your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold for five seconds, and repeat on the other side.
- Raise your arms and clasp your hands above your head. As you bend to the left, release your hands. Grasp your right elbow with your left hand and pull it to the left. Hold for five seconds. Come back to the center and repeat on the right side.
For your back
If you are prone to lower-back pain, this stretch will be helpful for you.
- Lie on your stomach, legs straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and slowly lift your chest up. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Come to a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart and pointed to the right. Lift the toes of your right foot off the ground, bend at the hip, and fold your body over. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Come back to a standing position and repeat on the left side with toes pointing to the left.
For your lower body
If you frequently wear high heels or like to run, walk, bicycle, or use an elliptical machine, this would be helpful.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Lift your right leg off the floor, holding it with both hands. Flex your foot and hold for five seconds. Lower and switch legs.
- While still seated, bend your right knee and lift your leg. Pull your knee to your chest. Flex your foot and hold for five seconds. Lower your right leg and repeat with the left.