Having a stretching routine is an excellent way to improve posture, boost workouts and stay flexible and pain-free writes Siobhan Byrne
With the curtailment of movement, we are all more restricted in what we can do. But that doesn’t mean we should stop exercising.
Even those who are ‘cocooning’ are encouraged to exercise to help their physical and mental well-being.
This week, I’m looking at stretching and the importance of putting a stretch routine together.
Static stretching is important, particularly for those who are sedentary. You may notice tightness in hips and joints. This is uncomfortable and can also, further down the line, lead to more serious injuries and issues. You don’t need to be the most limber person in the world to stretch effectively – you just need to stretch your muscles to the best of your ability. Never stretch to the point of pain and only hold a stretch for as long as it is comfortable.
If you develop a consistent routine with stretching you will see a difference – muscles will be less tight, joints will feel looser and your general movement will be better. This type of static stretching is most effective after you have been moving, whether that is a walk, a run or a home workout.
You should never do a stretch routine first thing in the morning as you risk pulling a muscle.
■ Start by sitting upright with your knees bent and feet flat, holding your ankles. Place your elbows on the inside of your knees and gently push down.
■ Start by lying on your back with one foot flat on the floor and opposite leg crossed over, with the ankle resting near the opposite knee.
Then simply clasp your hands behind the thigh of the leg resting on the floor and gently pull that knee in towards the chest. Hold for a few moments before performing on the opposite side.
■ Stand upright with your arms by your sides. Bend forward at the waist, lowering your hands towards the floor, or as close to the floor as you can; stop at your knees or calves if you need to. Keep your legs straight and don’t jerk or bounce the movement.
■ Start by standing with feet hip-width apart holding a chair or something stable in front of you. Take one foot in hand, and keeping the knee pointed towards the ground, gently stretch the quad front of the leg, only as far is comfortable. Hold for a few seconds and then change to the opposite side.
■ Start with feet hip-width apart and lunge forward, keeping your front foot flat on the floor and making sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond the shoe laces. Keep the back leg as straight as possible and place your hands on the leading leg or a chair for balance, holding briefly before changing to the opposite side.
Stretching should not cause pain; stop if you experience any pain. Hold for as long as is comfortable and warm-up first
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