Stretching For Health

When it comes to stretching, there are innumerable stretches that you can do, all of which can help you become more flexible, increase mobility, and reduce muscle and joint pain. But, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones to do.

Of course if you have a certain part of your body that you want to focus on, then you can do various stretches for that part of the body. However, if you’re looking for stretches that help your entire body, then there are a few other ones that you’ll need to do. Here are 3 essential stretches you need to know:

Side Bend - This stretch will stretch out your abdominal, back, and lateral muscles as well as your hips.

Begin the stretch from a standing position with your feet in line with your shoulders. Reach your hands over your head and press the palms of your hands together as high as you can reach. Take a deep breath in and pull your spine as straight and tall as you can manage. As you exhale, bend your body to the right so that you can feel the stretch through your arm and down your left side. Be sure to maintain a good form by keeping your arms and upper body in the same position. Hold the pose for 60 seconds, maintaining deep breathing throughout. Then, return to an upright position as you exhale and do the same thing to the left. Although not quite as effective, this stretch can also be done from a chair.

Chest Opener - This stretch focuses on your chest muscles, triceps, and shoulders.

Begin from a standing or sitting position. Then, reach your arms behind your head, clasping your hands at the back of your head. As you take a deep breath in, lift your chest as you pull your elbows back and keep your hands anchored behind your head.

Relax your position slightly as you exhale, then continue to stretch your chest and arm muscles further with each subsequent breath. You should maintain this pose for 10 slow breaths or 60 seconds.

Hamstring Stretch - This stretch works you calf muscle and helps with your balance

Sit on a chair such that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Straighten your right knee and move your foot towards you and hold for 60 seconds. Once you finish on one side, you can do the same with the left leg.

Should I Do the Same Stretches Every Day or Varied?

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to stretching about what is the best way to improve flexibility. Some believe that doing the same stretches every day will provide the best results while others suggest that doing so could do more harm than good. This leads them to believe that you should vary your stretches every day.

Why Stretch Every Day

It’s important to realize that while you may not exercise every day, you are moving every day, which is why it’s important to stretch those muscles every day if you want to get more flexible. You use your muscles while performing regular tasks every day, so as they get used, they are warmed up and ready to be stretched to encourage flexibility.

Another reason to stretch every day is that it keeps you in the habit. Even if stretching is the only thing you do as far as exercise goes every day, it’s beneficial. However, if you only stretch a few days a week, it’s easy to forget and get lazy about it. However, if you make it part of your daily routine, then it’s easier to remember and soon your day won’t feel complete without stretching.

What to Stretch Every Day

The best thing you can do for your body is to go ahead and stretch everything every day. If you have certain areas that you’re concerned about or want to focus on, then you may even want to do these twice per stretching session or twice per day. But, in general, it’s a good idea to make sure that every part of your body gets stretched every day.

To make sure that you stretch every part of your body every day, find a routine to follow, whether you go along with a DVD or create a written list of your favorite stretches that cover every major muscle group. By doing the same thing every day, this will further help you establish a routine and will ensure that you cover every part every day.