Stretching is beneficial for your whole body. Do these stretching exercises for everyone at least 3-4 times per week as part of your fitness journey and you’ll see a noticeable difference.
Stretching keeps the muscles strong and healthy. We need flexibility and range of motion to live well. That why stretching for everyone is important.
Stretching workout benefits
- Increased flexibility.
- Improved range of motion.
- Prepares muscles for activity and increases performance.
- Less stress on joints and lower back.
- Lower risk of pulling or tearing muscles when working out.
- Reduces recover time.
- Stress relief.
- Decrease tension headaches.
- Fewer aches and pains.
- Improved posture.
- Being able to get down on the floor to play with your children.
What happens to your body when you stretch?
Do you want to be a dry piece of spaghetti or a rubber band? The dry noodle is brittle with little or no give without breaking. But the rubber band can be pulled and pulled without being harmed. Muscle fibers are able to get longer and more flexible and will be able to retract better with proper stretching exercises.
Stretches should be incorporated into everyday activities. Stretching exercises are undervalued. I don’t stretch enough at all. I can feel it in my lower back and shoulders, especially when I stand for long periods of time.
Types of stretching exercises
Ballistic stretches are stretching exercises that are fast and bouncy. This forces muscles to get longer but has a high risk of injury.
Dynamic stretches are gradual stretches that slowly pull the muscle past its limit.
Active stretches stretch a joint gradually to increase reach, this is a controlled movement. You hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.
Passive stretching uses another body part or another person to stretch the muscle past the normal range of motion.
Static stretches use a wall or other person to provide resistance to help you stretch the muscle past its normal range of motion. This is like lifting your leg straight up and your partner pushes against it for 10-15 seconds and relaxing for 20 seconds and then doing it again repeatedly.
PAF or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is stretching that is commonly used with people with disabilities. It requires a partner to provide resistance against and then to take the joint through the full range of motion.
Hyperbolic stretching incorporates ancient Japanese stretching as well as western science. It is a program that uses survival reflexes. It helps with muscle elasticity and body control to increase athletic potential. It increases kicking speed, vertical jumps, faster running, and reflexes. Hyperbolic stretching makes you stronger and more flexible.
Stretching exercises for beginners
Stretching for tight hamstrings
Stand with your feet hip-width apart in front of a table or step.
Place your right heel on the step so that your leg is extended in front of you.
Slowly turn your left hip towards your right foot and lower your upper body towards your right knee to the furthest comfortable position.
Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
Place your hands behind your back and clasp your hands together.
Slowly try to raise them higher.
Feel the stretch in your chest.
Seated or standing, interlock your fingers behind your head.
Bend your elbows and raise your arm above your head.
Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows and hands backward.
Vary the height of your hands.
Stretches for shin splints
Sit on your feet with your toes pointing in and your hands on the floor in front of you.
Increase the stretching exercise by leaning forward to raise yourself. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Use a curb or step and hold a wall or chair for balance.
Stand on the balls of your feet on the edge of the step.
Slowly let one heel hang off the step and feel the stretch at the back of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Sit on the floor, knees apart, the bottom of your feet together like a diamond.
Keep your chest up and your back straight.
Bend forward at the hips while applying gentle pressure on your knees pushing them to the floor.
Relax and hold this position for 10-20 seconds.
Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
Raise your arms up over your head.
Slowly lean to one side and hold for 10 seconds. Then do the other side.
Stand upright with your arms straight in front of you and your hands against a wall.
Move one leg backward with toes on the floor.
Bend the other knee and lean forward into the wall with your heel flat on the floor.
Hold for 20 seconds.
Stand in front of a bench and place one foot on the bench.
Bend forward toward leg and pull your torso toward your thigh with your hands.
Hold for 30 seconds.
Change legs and repeat.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
Place one hand on the opposite shoulder and lift your other hand onto your elbow.
Pull your elbow toward the shoulder until you feel the stretch.
Hold for 15-20 seconds.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Stretching exercises for seniors
There are some great stretches that you can do while in bed to help reduce your risk of falling and gradually move toward free-standing stretches. The shoulder stretch, hamstring stretch, chest stretch, and overhead stretch will all benefit the body and improve range of motion for seniors.
Imagine being able to get on the floor or garden without feeling the pain in your back, hips, and knees. Remember to warm up for 5-10 minutes before you stretch and to hold the stretches for 10-20 seconds and not to bounce. Stretch until you feel tension and don’t force it too far. Feel that stress and tension melt away and feel rejuvenated. So let’s go stretch. It will make us feel better!
Now for a joke. What do you call 10 rabbits marching backward? A receding hairline. Ha ha ha!