Did you know that better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities and decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work most effectively? Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. Here are three simple stretches to work on every day to help your body feel its absolute best!
- Improves flexibility in calves, hamstrings, and shoulders
- Relives pain in low back
- Elongates cervical (neck) spine, which relives tension in the body and head.
How to do it: On your hands and knees, keep your hands directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Spread fingers wide and keep feet straight. Inhale as you lift your knees from the floor, pressing hips towards the ceiling. Bring heels to the floor, with a slight bend in knee if needed. Press your hands firmly into the mat and draw shoulder blades down. Keep your head between your arms, without letting it hang. Deep breathes the entire time!
Lying Piriformis Stretch (Thread the Needle):
- Improves flexibility in hips and glutes
- Helps to keep hip and knee joints in alignment during activity
- Allows for easy external rotation of the hips
How to do it: Lie on your back with both knees bent, bring one ankle over the opposite knee. Bring the foot that is on the ground, up to a 90 degree angle. Loop your hands between your legs and slowly pull your knee towards your chest. Keep your head and neck relaxed, remember to breathe.
- Improves flexibility in hips and quadriceps
- Releases the tension in the hip flexors, tension here can result in low back pain
How to do it: Come onto both knees and step right foot forward. Make sure to keep your right knee over your heel and left knee directly under your hip. Reach your left hand up toward the ceiling. Make sure to keep both hips facing forward and glutes engaged. Switch sides. Remember to breath!