Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply making an effort to maintain an active lifestyle, exercise is an integral part of your everyday life. From going on a simple walk to running full steam ahead, every step that you take matters a lot!
The benefits of regular exercise can’t be undermined. Regular exercise not only keeps you fit and active but, it also wards off a number of deadly diseases like diabetes, cardiac abnormalities and obesity. You don’t have to be an Olympian to achieve your goals.
Importance of Stretching
While many people exercise on a regular basis, there is one aspect of exercise that most of us tend to ignore and that is: pre and post-workout stretches! Though most of us find stretching pretty boring, they are an important part of any exercise program. A few benefits of stretching are given below to give you a head-start on stretching!
- Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy.
- Regular stretching is important as it keeps the muscles long and lean.
- Regular stretching ensures that there is no tightness in the muscles, as you perform your exercise.
- Regular stretching is important as it prevents muscular injury in the long run!
The Best Stretches!
Though the idea of stretching on a daily basis may sound over-whelming at first but once you get used to it, you’ll find that not only it helps in improving your flexibility but it also relaxes your mind and body. That said, we have compiled some of the best stretches to help you ease into your exercise routine!
Arm and Torso Stretch
This stretch is important as it not only works your arms but also works your upper back and torso. This is a good pre and post-workout stretch, especially if you are going to work on your arms. For this stretch, you need to raise your left arm up and then bend your elbow, so that your left hand drops below your head. Gently pull your left arm down and below by placing your right hand behind your left below.
Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the other arm. You might feel a bit tight in the beginning but, you will soon notice an improvement in your flexibility.
Lower Back Stretch
Your back is the most vulnerable part of your body during exercise and if any exercise is not performed with a proper form, it can lead to straining of the lower back.
To prevent and even relieve a strained lower back, you can perform this lower back stretch. Stand with your feet apart, with left foot forward. Press your fists into your lower back while pushing your hips forward and raising your chest to the ceiling. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds and then repeat this movement by placing the right foot forward.
Stretch Your Abs
When you have been crunching and crunching in the gym for some time, it is important that you stretch your abs, before and after the workout. To stretch your abs, lie facedown with your hands on the floor. Keep your legs stretched and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Raise your upper torso by pushing on the hands and straightening your arms. Keep your legs and hips flat on the floor. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
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Save Your Spine!
Your spine is the backbone of your body, literally! It is also the most vulnerable part of your body during exercise. Spinal injuries are very common during strenuous exercises and it is only logical that you look after your spine! For this stretch, lie on your side with your legs together and arms bent, with your hands on the floor.
Simply straighten your arms, pushing your upper torso away from the floor and pressing your hips forward. Repeat this on the opposite side.
This is a perfect stretch to relax your tight hips. Tight hips are pretty common, not only as a result of strenuous exercise but also due to prolonged sitting. To relax and stretch your hips, lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Keeping your shoulders flat on the floor, place your left ankle on the right knee and then lower your knees to the right side. Hold the stretch for some time and then repeat on the other side.
Stretch Your Spine, Back and Buttocks in A Single Move!
This multi-purpose stretch works your back, buttocks and spine at the same time. Sit straight on a stable stool and cross your right leg over the left leg and bend at the waist. Let your arms and head hang down to get a good, relaxing stretch. Repeat this move on the opposite side!
Stretching is an Integral Part of your Exercise and It Should Not Be Ignored. It Prevents Muscle Injury and Helps Relax Your Body!