Increasing your flexibility has many health benefits. It can help reduce stress and tension, pain, increase circulation, help improve posture, and reduce risk for injury. I am by no means super flexible but doing regular yoga and stretching has improved my flexibility greatly. Along with that improved flexibility, I’ve seen first-hand how it has helped my circulation, my posture, and reduced my tension.
Upper Shoulder Stretch
This stretch is great if you sit hunched over at a desk all day. Grab a yoga strap or a towel, and place it over your left shoulder. Grab the towel behind your back with your right hand and then gently pull up with your left hand. Hold for 10-15 seconds then release, switch hands, and repeat. This move can be done either sitting or standing.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lie flat on your back and then lift your left leg into the air, so it is 90 degrees to the floor. Keeping your knee slightly bent, put your hand around your hamstring or calf and pull your leg towards your chest.
Hold for 10-15 seconds then lower leg back to the floor. Repeat with your right leg. Not even close to reaching your leg with your hands? No problem. Use a towel or yoga strap around your foot.
Windshield Wiper Twist
This one is good for your hips. Lay on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet slightly wider than hip-distance width apart. Reach your arms out to the side to a “T.” Gently lower your left knee to your right ankle. Return to center, then gently lower your right knee to your left ankle. Repeat 5 times.
This stretch is good for your torso, spine and neck. Start by laying on the floor. While keeping your left leg straight, bring your right knee into your chest. As you breathe out, drop your right knee across your body. Then extend your right arm and look out over your right shoulder. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then do the other side.
Standing Wall Calf Stretch
Stand about two feet away from a wall or step. Step forward with your right foot and place the ball of your right foot on the wall (keep your heel on the ground). Gently lean forward while keeping your knee straight (but not locked). Hold for 10-15 seconds then step back and repeat with your right leg.
Foot & Arch Stretch
Round up a golf ball, tennis ball, or lacrosse ball, baseball for this one. Place it under the arch of your foot and apply light to moderate pressure, rolling the ball around under your arch.
Standing Side Stretch
Stand with your feet together, ankles lightly touching. Raise your hands above your head, clasp your palms together, index fingers together and pointing straight up. Slowly bend to the left, exhaling through the bend. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Inhale as you straighten back up. Repeat on the right side. On this stretch, it’s important to not allow your opposite hip to pop out or bulge as you bend.
Give these stretches a go.
You can even make them part of a quick everyday routine. If you do these regularly, you’ll start to notice a difference in just a few weeks. Let me know which ones were your favorites!