Peace Naturals – Stretching 101
We all need to stretch to protect our mobility and muscles. It’s easy to think only athletes need stretching, but everyone benefits from this simple activity. Stretching keeps muscles strong and flexible, which we need in order to maintain healthy joints. Experts recommend stretching daily to maintain healthy muscles.
Without adequate stretching, muscles shorten and feel tight. Use of weaken muscles might result in joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. Stretch regularly to keep muscles long, lean, and flexible.
Stretching won’t suddenly give you perfect flexibility. Like everything, consistency and correct execution will heed best results. Properly stretched and healthy muscles can also help with balance and coordination – it has been known to feel good too!
Most stretches should be held for 30 seconds. You should feel tension while stretching, but you should not feel pain. If you do, this might be indicative of an injury or damaged tissues. As a rule, push yourself until you feel a good pull in your muscle without any significant amount of pain.
Try out these stretches, remember hold for 15-30 seconds for optimal results:
- Hamstring stretch: Stand or sit and try to touch your toes.
- Tricep stretch: Extend one arm over your head, bend it at the elbow and gently push that arm behind your head with your other hand.
- Calf stretch: Find a step and place your foot so the back half is hanging off. Then, slowly put your weight on your leg and lower your heel until your calf muscle feels a slight pull.
- Back stretch: Kneel on the floor and stretch your arms as far forward as you can. Round your back while doing the motion to release any built-up tension in your back muscles.
If you work in an office environment, try out these stretches you can do at your desk:
- Neck rotations: Lean your head down and rotate your neck from left to right. Go slowly to maintain the stretch. You should feel the muscles on the outside of your neck gradually stretching.
- Seated spinal rotation: Cross your arms over your chest and grab your shoulders. Rotate your upper body from the waist, turning gently from left to right. You should feel a stretch in your lower back.
- Shoulder shrugs: Gently lift your shoulders and let them slowly fall. You should feel tension being released as your shoulders drop.
- Sitting back extensions: Sit straight with your feet together and put the palms of your hands into the small of your back. Lean back over your hands. You should feel the stretch in your lower back.