Alright, we say ‘anywhere’, but we obviously don’t mean you should start stretching your hamstrings on the Northern line during rush hour.
However, these moves really can be done anywhere you’ve got a bit of room to stretch out. You don’t need to hit up a gym or fancy yoga studio – just find a nice, chilled spot.
Stretching has never been an exercise du jour and often gets overlooked in many people’s routines. But taking a small amount of time to gently move your muscles doesn’t just make you feel physically better – it boasts amazing mental health benefits too. Spending time stretching and focusing on you and your body helps you realign, boost flexibility, decrease soreness and increase strength.
Below you’ll find a fail-safe, all-over body stretch routine to keep you loose and supple.
Get low to reduce muscle tension in your upper and lower legs. This adductor stretch boosts your range of joint movements, which means better muscular co-ordination. Don’t forget to stretch on both sides.
Another two-sided stretch for you. Stretching the sides of your upper body opens up the rib cage and stretches the intercostal muscles (hello, GCSE Biology reference). In layman’s terms? Do this and expect better breathing intake and lengthened abdominal muscles.
Pectoral and shoulder stretch
Behind-the-back stretches open up the chest, stretch anterior shoulder muscles, enhance posture and release stiffness from the shoulder area. Hold the pose for at least 10 seconds so you can get the most benefit.
Your quads are one of the biggest muscle groups in your body, so give them some much needed attention with this stretch. Simply grab your foot and gently stretch it up towards your behind. Make sure you repeat with the other side. Tight quadriceps can lead to knee and back pain, and may result in injury through sport, so make sure this stretch becomes a leading part of your repertoire.
Hamstrings and calves stretch
Get ready to fold yourself in half. If you’ve got a healthy back, this stretch is a wonderful way to open up your hamstrings. You’ll be rewarded with better spine flexibility, and less tension in your neck and shoulders.
The forward hang
This stretch works similarly to the one above. But, instead of leaning all the way down, pull your arms behind your back. You should feel a brilliant, bigger stretch in your chest and shoulder area, all thanks to our friend, gravity.
Standing hamstring stretch
This stretch is a P.E. teacher’s staple for a reason. Hamstrings are prone to muscle strains or tears (ouch!), so stretching them regularly is key. This move will also help prevent lower back pain and boost your hips’ mobility.
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