Without getting into those more complicated poses and stretches, here’s a list of some simple stretches to incorporate into your weekly exercise routine. Each stretch will help strengthen and improve flexibility for every area of your body. Simply doing these poses every morning will help relieve the tension that causes the aches and pains we often experience throughout the day. Give your muscles some love with these seven stretches you should be doing daily.
1#1 Downward Dog
2#2 Crescent Pose to Low Lunge
3#3 Child’s Pose
4#4 Cat and Cow Pose
The muscles in the back are so important in maintaining a good and steady exercise routine. Let’s face it, if your back is shot, you’ve got the perfect excuse to stay clear of any physical activity for a long while. If your back is feeling stiff, these stretches should improve flexibility and mobility along your spine. They work in combination to target your core area and back muscles.
How To: Just like the Child’s Pose, start on all fours, with your hands and knees touching your mat. Your wrists should be in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Gently tuck in your pelvis as your round your back into an arch to fully stretch your abs and chest muscles. You’ll slip into the Cow Pose by arching your back inward while sticking your chest out. Alternate between the cat and cow positions; just remember to inhale and exhale through the movements.
5#5 Spinal Twist
It seems like most of these stretches focus on the lower back and hips, but those areas are most used in daily life so they require special attention. The Spinal Twist in a lying position can help realign the spine and improve flexibility while strengthening your core muscles. If you suffer from sciatica pain, this stretch can help you cope with the pain.
How To: Begin by lying on your back with your arms stretched out to either side and in line with your shoulders. Your shoulder blades should remain touching the mat. Bring your knees in toward your chest and roll your lower body to your right side. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly bring your legs back to the center and roll to the left side. Hold for another 30 seconds. Keep alternating sides while stopping at the center briefly. Engage your core muscles. You can modify this stretch by keeping one leg stretched out (right), rolling your bent knee (left) over the extended leg and placing your arm (right) over your bent knee. Do this on both sides.
6#6 Single Leg Stretch
We could all benefit from a little more flexibility and core strength. Crunches and sit-ups are a pain on the neck and back, and the plank gets old after a while. This leg stretch will improve flexibility in your hamstrings while engaging the core muscles.
How To: Lie straight on your back and lift both legs toward the ceiling. Like working a pair of scissors, lower one leg toward your mat while pulling the other leg toward your upper body. To maintain your balance, hold your raised leg anywhere below the knee cap. You can lift your shoulders off the ground at this point. Make sure to keep your legs straight and toes pointed. Hold for 15 seconds, and alternate between your left and right legs.