4 Flexibility Stretches You Need to Start Doing More
You’ll Want to Start Doing These Flexibility Stretches Right Away
Flexibility stretches are necessary when you’re living an active lifestyle. The active woman is usually found sprinting around town, whether she’s getting to class, work, or just running errands. But no matter how demanding her life can be, her body needs flexibility stretches in order to endure the daily activities.
Body Love Athletica is all about women living healthy, active lifestyles while feeling confident. With this list of 4 flexibility stretches, your body can have the confidence it needs to be able to handle any job, lifestyle, and workout so your body can achieve maximum results.
We put together 4 stretches that you may have to ease yourself into. So don’t worry if you don’t get their full benefits just yet, and remember not to push yourself harder than you need to. Stretching is about improving the performance of everyday activities as well as reducing the risk of injury. Stretching is a relaxing moment for you and your body to breathe simultaneously. Whether you need these stretches to perform better as a runner, swimmer, or for your body to be more flexible in general, we’ve got 4 that will help your body perform any action.
Big Toe Pose
What makes this pose so great is it has the ability to increase blood circulation to the brain, while stretching areas such as calf muscles, back, lower back, hamstrings, thigh muscles, and both of the arms. According to Live Strong, increasing your blood circulation is always a good way to improve brain function, while keeping your mind sharp and focused. This stretch is a great one to do regularly because it targets a variety of places at once.
If you’re having issues with stretching all the way down forward and can’t actually make it to your toes, bend your knees slightly. If it helps, remember you can always hold onto your calves for added support. The majority of this stretch comes from bending your back all the way forward, so do it slowly to get your body used to the stretch. Rushing this one can result in hurting your lower back.
Reverse Prayer Hands
There are three huge benefits to this stretch. It opens the abdomen, stretches your upper back, and stretches the shoulder joints and pectoral muscles. Opening up the abdomen is an amazing way to allow for deeper breaths. Deeper breaths have a calming effect (think meditation) which is great for your mind and spirit. This stretch also helps with preventing stiff back and stiff shoulders.
Psychology Today details the muscle spasms and knots people tend to have in their shoulders, particularly if you have a sitting desk or work primarily in front of a computer. With the upper body benefits you get from doing Reverse Prayer Hands, we deem it perfect for the modern woman.
Make sure before attempting this stretch that your arms are loose to avoid pulling a muscle. If you’re unable to put your hands together in prayer hands, modify it to just clasp your hands to get the same effect.
This stretch can be done standing or seated. We suggest you inhale first so you can bring your arms behind you as you exhale. With your fingers pointing towards the ground, let your palms touch lightly. Breathe in again and rotate your arms so your fingers point towards you and then to the sky. Breathe out and press your pinkies into your back as you bring your palms together. Once you’ve reached the stretch breathe in and out a few times before slowly pulling yourself out of it.
Pigeon Pose has several physical benefits to this particular stretch. It helps lengthen the hip flexor, opens up the hip joints, stretches the thighs, and even extends your groin. Of course with any stretch you want to make sure that you’re doing it correctly so you can avoid injuries. We opted to use a medicine ball for added support for your hip. For this stretch make sure the medicine ball is at a comfortable distance for you to be able to put your leg on. Start comfortably on the ball, bending your knee and minding your balance as you extend your back leg.
Make sure to keep your hips square and facing forward. Some people hold this position, breathing in and out, around ten times. Ease yourself out of this stretch to then perform on the opposite leg. Pigeon Pose really opens up your hips, which is great for your posture, alignment, and overall flexibility. The twist of using a medicine ball will also help strengthen your core and balance. But of course this pose can be done without a medicine ball, just make sure you’re doing it on a comfortable surface for your shin, knee, and ankle.
Squats are one of those stretches with so many different versions and depths, depending on what your body can handle. We want to share a specific squat that is particularly effective for the body because it focuses on the abdomen. Start by lowering into your squat while having your arms above your head. This move forces you to pay attention to your core. Start with your feet hip width apart and then take an extra step to the side, then point your feet outwards. The key to any effective squat is to sit back in it slowly, especially to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your knees. Raising your arms up and out will give you the physical trigger you need not to lean forward because you’ll be able to feel yourself leaning forward with your arms up. Sitting back into the squat will push your thighs out. In the right squat your body will breathe into it. A deep squat can help build your leg muscles and with our squat it will also help stretch your shoulders and build strength in your arms.
With these 4 flexibility stretches, we’re jumpstarting your journey to a healthier you, but make sure to remember to do only what you physically can. If you can’t perform the full stretch (like in Reverse Prayer Hands) modify it to suit your body and what you know you can handle. But importantly, don’t give up! Keep trying, and thanks to muscle memory, one day you’ll be able to perform the full stretch and your body will continue to thank you for it!