If your body has been feeling sore and achy lately, stretching might be the perfect solution. Stretching daily is a great practice to integrate into your life, and it becomes even more important as we age. In this article, we will walk through the basic knowledge you need to know about stretching and lay out some of the most important moves to put into your daily stretching routine.
The benefits of stretching are numerous. Stretching can help increase your blood flow, prevent injuries, and help your muscles become more effective. Even if you don’t have the stamina to do high-intensity exercises, stretching can be a great, accessible way to improve your health.
Here is our guide to the ultimate daily stretching routine.
We don’t mean that you have to limit yourself to stretching one time a day. If you want to stretch twice a day or even three times, feel free to! You just want to make sure that you are listening to your body and not pushing it too far.
The benefit of stretching at the same time every day is that it can help you stay consistent. Consistency is key for habit building. Stretching just a little bit every day can help improve your health. If you do stretches right when you wake up or go to bed, you are more likely to make it a consistent habit.
You should be able to feel the stretch in your muscles, but it shouldn’t be painful. Some people believe that “more is more” when it comes to athletic endeavors, but this is not the case with stretching.
It is important to listen to your body. Ignoring pain can lead to injury, bad form, and bad habits. Stretching can feel uncomfortable at points, and that is okay. However, mild discomfort is the maximum you should reach for when executing a stretch.
Now let’s walk through the ultimate daily stretching routine.
You are going to want to get comfortable on a cushy surface. This could mean pulling out a yoga mat or setting yourself up on a cushy carpet. You don’t want to cause unnecessary discomfort or pain when doing your stretches, especially because it could prevent you from starting your routine in the first place.
A great way to start your stretching is to lie down and do a full body stretch, like the kind of stretch you might do if you were waking up from a great night’s sleep. Lay flat on your back in the “Superman” pose (with your arms laying flat straight above your head and your legs extended). Extend your arms and legs as far as you can. You should feel a nice, pleasant stretching sensation. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds.
You are going to want to do this stretch while sitting or standing. Pick whatever position is more comfortable for you. Make sure your shoulders are straight, and you are sitting or standing up properly. Then you are going to want to roll your neck. You will do this by dropping your chin towards your chest and then moving your head towards one shoulder and then the other shoulder. Repeat this process a couple of times.
It can be especially helpful to do when you are feeling stressed or tense. Most people find themselves carrying a lot of tension in their necks. You can also accompany this stretch with a quick neck massage if you want maximum stress relief.
If you ever have attended a workout class that has a stretching component, you are probably already familiar with this bicep stretch we are about to do. You want to start by extending the elbow up and letting your arm fall behind your head. Then you want to grasp your elbow and pull it towards your head. Remember! It shouldn’t be painful. At the most, it should be slightly uncomfortable. You can hold this stretch for 10 seconds and then repeat it on the other side.
Along with our neck, our shoulders are where we hold a lot of tension. You are going to roll out your shoulders in much the same way as your neck. You are going to want to do this stretch standing. Raise your shoulders up and then roll them backward in a circular motion. Repeat this 5 times, and then reverse your movements and roll your shoulders forward.
And there you have it! A solid stretching routine that you can integrate into your everyday life. If you want, it is absolutely possible to add on additional stretches, but this is your perfect basic set of stretches to integrate into your daily routine.