7 stretching exercises to increase your flexibility



When thinking about stretching and learning how to become flexible, consider you are doing more than just elongating and strengthening your muscles.

You are, in fact, improving circulation of the blood (lymphatic system), and optimizing the depth of your breath, which further enhances circulation.

Stretching and yoga aren’t just trends; they are practices that have been utilized by humans arguably for hundreds of thousands of years or more.

In many cases, modern humans have simply forgotten much of their ancestry, and stretching/yoga is certainly an integral part.

The following stretching routines, if practiced consistently will improve your physical and mental well-being, so let’s get into them!

1. Hamstring Stretches

Hamstring stretches target the back of your legs. It’s best to do them at the end of a workout. It makes you flexible for a healthy back, hips and knees. The reclined stretch, forward bend, scissor stretch and the standing hamstring stretch are some exercises that you can try.

2. Glutes Stretches

This exercise is great for back pain relief as they help in opening up tight hips. For glutes stretches you could use a foam roller. Foam rollers are simple tools that help you stretch easily and effectively. They add immense value to your stretching regime.

3. Shoulder Stretches

Shoulder rolls and rotations are the best to give relief for tight shoulders. Another exercise that does wonders is the cow-face pose. Straighten your right arm and then bend it behind your head. Move you left arm behind your back while bending your elbow. Try to reach the right fingertips with your left arm and stretch. Repeat with the other hand.

4. Abdominal Stretches

It’s quite helpful to stretch your abs post a core workout to prevent soreness or pain the next day. The cobra yoga pose is a great stretching exercise that you could try. You can also use an exercise ball to do side bends and spinal stretches.

5. Neck Stretches

You may have slept in a wrong position or you may have a sitting job, but that crick in the neck is not only annoying, it can also cause headaches and back pain. Stretch the sides of the neck for instant relief. You can also try the back neck stretch where you reach both your hands behind your back and hold on to the right wrist with your left hand.

6. Downward Dog

It’s a great pose to stretch those muscles and relieve that tension. By stabilizing your upper body in this exercise, you engage and strengthen the muscles of the arms, chest, back, and shoulder area.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. While exhaling, hinge at the hips and lower your head toward the floor. Place your hands/palms on the ground. Step back with your feet while keeping a neutral back/spine and with your head/neck in-line with your shoulders and arms.

7. Frog Stretch

It improve your seated posture and circulation, this simple yoga pose can also increases flexibility in your hips and the inside of your thighs.

Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor. Ensure your legs are maintaining approximately a 90-degree angle (squared off). Shift your hips back toward your heels. Move from your hands down to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible.

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