Majority of us spend quite a lot of time sitting at a desk, on our couches or behind the wheels of our cars. We spend multiple hours in a stationary position in these locations. As a result, our body flexibility reduces. We only notice the lack of flexibility in our bodies when we begin to perform challenging movements in our day to day life. For example, if you feel some back pain after a day of work, your core is not flexible enough any more. Also if you feel pain or stiffness in your knees or hips when you are squatting to pick up something from the floor, you need to work on your flexibility.
Our jobs and schedules can make it almost impossible to be as flexible as we would want. Sitting or standing for too long during the day makes our joints and muscles stiff. Over time, they can even get weak. Thankfully, there are a number of movements that can help you to restore your flexibility. They are easy to perform anywhere. For example, you can perform them in your office, your home or at the gym. Read on to learn about the stretches you should do daily for a greater flexibility.
The bridge combined with a leg reach
In this stretching routine, all you need to do is lie on the floor with your face up. Ensure that your knees are bent at an angle of 90 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and extend your arms by your sides. From this position, extend your right leg forward and keep it straight. After that, lift your hips slowly upwards until your body forms a diagonal line from your knee down to your shoulder on the same side. While in this position, make sure that you are pressing your upper back into the ground and keeping your chest opened up. Now lift your right leg upwards until it points the ceiling. Hold the position and then lower it. Repeat this motion 10 times and hold the last repetition for a total of 10 seconds. Change your legs and repeat the process. This movement stretches out your chest, glutes, abs and hip flexors.
The trunk twist while seated
This is another highly effective stretching movement that can increase your flexibility. To perform it, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. They should be held together. Your back should be straight and shoulders squared. Now rotate your torso to the right while keeping your nose pointing in the same direction as your chest. Maintain tension in your abs too. While facing your immediate right, breath in, lift your ribcage higher and turn further to the right. Twist your body as far as you can and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this movement to your left and perform 10 repetitions of this. Make sure that you hold the final repetition on each side for 30 seconds. This trunk twist can stretch out your back, obliques and your abs too.
The runner's stretch
This is a routine that is specially designed to stretch out the muscles of your back and legs. To perform it, begin by standing straight up with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your sides. After that, step forward with your right foot and lower your body as though you are lunging. Touch the floor with your fingertips if you can. If you can't, have them touch some pillows that are placed on both sides of your foot. With a quick breath in, stretch out your right leg as much as you can with your fingertips still on the floor or on the pillows. Feel the tension releasing in the back of your thighs. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Perform the same for your left leg and do 10 repetitions per leg.
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In this stretching exercise, begin by kneeling with your shins on the floor and your back straight. Proceed to rest on your calves with your shins still touching the floor. After that, stretch out your right leg straight backwards while resting on your left calf. Make sure that the leg has been stretched out completely. After that, place some pressure on it by leaning back slowly. Hold this position for ten seconds and then relax. Perform the stretch on the left leg too. The pigeon stretches out your hips, glutes and thighs.
The quad stretch
This is a stretching movement that is also known as the hip flexor. To do it, begin by kneeling on the floor with your knees bent and your shins touching the floor. After that, place your right leg forward such that your right knee is positioned at 90 degrees. Your right foot should be placed flat on the floor under your knee. Ensure that your left leg is still bent under you and is parallel to your right thigh. Once you assume this position, put your hands on your right knee and press your back hip in a forward direction. Lean into a stretch and keep your back straight up. Stay in this position for 30 seconds and then relax. Do three repetitions for your right leg, shift to the left one and repeat. This stretch routine works on your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors.
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The hip rotation in a lying position
To perform this stretch, lie down with your back on the floor and arms stretched out at your sides. Position your knees such that they are facing the ceiling and your feet are firm and flat on the floor. After that, pick up your right foot and cross it over on your left thigh. While it is in this position, gently press forward on your right knee. You should feel the stretching happen in your groin area and your hips too. Hold the pressed position for 60 seconds at a time. Repeat the motion for your left leg. The hip rotation in a lying position primarily stretches out your hips and groin.
The Important Take Away
Stretching regularly can dramatically increase your flexibility. It can keep your joints and muscles in good shape too. When you are flexible, day to day tasks do not strain you at all. Moreover, stretching before a workout or a session of sport warms you up and prevents you from suffering muscle pulls and sprains. The stretches indicated above can deliver results and make you as flexible as you desire to be.