Stretching is an easy way to release tense muscles and help give the body some TLC. Stretching keeps muscles flexible which is important to maintain range of motion in joints which also helps to keep balance. Stretching can help to release stress and emotional tension too. Stretching is good for the body and the mind!
Below are some basic stretches to help flexibility and balance. If something hurts when you do it then stop. If you are under doctors care consult your doctor if these stretches are appropriate for you.
Start seated on the floor. You may sit on a yoga mat or towel or the ground.
Seated Side Stretch– seated on the floor put one leg outstretched to the side and bend the other leg inward. Reach the arm opposite to the extended leg overhead towards/to touch the foot on the extended leg. Bring head to knee if flexibility allows if not stop when you have to. You should feel the stretch along the side of the trunk of the body and the back of the legs. Hold for 30 seconds then return to center and do the other side. Repeat 2-3 times.
Kneeling Reach – move from seated on the floor to your knees. Reach your hands along the floor in front of you bringing your head to the ground while lowering your butt towards your feet. This decompresses the spine and stretches the back muscles, especially lower back, as well as the quads. If you can not bring your butt to your feet or your head to the floor just do what you can until you work up the flexibility. Hold for 30 seconds or longer if you find it relaxing. This stretch is very calming for the nerves as well as relaxing for the muscles.
Seated Toe Reach – return to the seated position with legs together. Reach forward towards toes using only upper back, keep lower back in place and spine straight. Hold stretch for 30 seconds then return to upright seated position. Repeat 2-3 times. You should feel the stretch in the upper back, shoulders, and back of the legs.
Glute Stretch – Lay flat on the ground face up with legs straight. Keep one leg straight on the ground while extending other straightened leg up towards sky. Use hands to help pull leg gently towards head to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds while pointing and flexing the foot to activate different muscles. Lower leg to floor and do opposite leg. Repeat 2-3 times. This can also be done with leg on the ground in a bent knee position. You should feel this stretch in the glutes, lower back, ham strings and sciatica nerve.
Abdomen and Chest Stretch – Lay on the ground face down with hands under shoulders. Push up extending chest with face looking up. Hold for 30 seconds then lower slowly to the ground. Repeat 2-3 times. You should feel this stretch in the abs and rib area and a release of pressure on the lower back.
Inner Thigh Stretch – Lay on ground face down and bend one leg in front with foot relaxed and outstretch the other leg behind with toes pointed. Raise head and torso up using fingers for support to arch back. Move the front leg into different angles to feel the stretch in different areas. You should feel this stretch in the groin, inner thigh, quad, abs, chest and back.
Quad Stretch – Kneel on one knee with the other leg bent in front for balance. While keeping back straight and eyes looking straight ahead lean forward on the front leg. A stretch is felt in the quad of the kneeling leg. Lean into it less or more to adjust the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then swap leg positions and do on other leg. Repeat 2-3 times.
Reach Over Head Stretch – From a standing position with feet together raise arms over head together and reach back over head towards sky. Hold for 30 seconds then lower arms. Repeat 2-3 times.
Over Head Side Stretch – From a standing position with feet together raise arms over head together and clasp hands. With hands clasped reach to one side and hold for 30 seconds then return to center. Reach out to the opposite side and hold for 30 seconds then return to center. Repeat 2-3 times.
Arm Across Chest Stretch – From a standing position extend straightened arm across chest and hold with opposite hand at elbow. Pull closer to body for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then relax and do on opposite arm. Repeat 2-3 times.
Arm Behind Head Stretch – From a standing position extend arm up and hold with opposite hand at elbow. Pull elbow closer to head for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then relax and do on opposite arm. Repeat 2-3 times.
Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, flexible, strong, and healthy!
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I am Licensed Massage Therapist Kim Crinella and I specialize in helping people reduce pain and improve the quality of life using natural holistic wellness modalities. In person therapy services are available on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Reiki and crystal therapy services are available anywhere in the World.