Stretching Exercises – Stretch Off Your Aches and Pains
If you’re like most people, chances are you spend a large part of your day sitting behind a desk or otherwise sedentary. Whether you’re typing away at a computer from home or at an office, it’s likely your limbs spend many hours crunched up. Stretching exercises, whether you’re an avid exerciser or a moderate one, is a good habit to get into. Regular stretching exercise will keep your limbs nimble, encourage healthy blood flow, and will help stave off the aches and pains you contract while sitting around. However, as with anything, proper stretching exercises have their own set of rules and guidelines. Since improper stretching can do more harm than good, learning the right types of stretching and their techniques is essential to a healthy lifestyle.
Why Should You Stretch?
Stretching should be an important component of your exercise routine. Stretching exercise can improve flexibility as well as the range of motion of your joints. Before you begin stretching, you should warm up for five to 10 minutes with some light activity. The Mayo Clinic even advises that you reserve stretching for after your workout. Either way, try to keep your stretching exercises gentle. Don't bounce. If you begin to feel pain, you've gone too far. Improper stretching or stretching too vigorously can cause injury.
Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, then switch to the other side of your body and repeat. If you have an injury or a problem area and you find the stretch is particularly helpful in alleviating pain or discomfort, you may benefit from multiple reps of that particular stretch. Always talk to your doctor or other health professional about which stretching exercises are right for you if you have any health conditions or injuries.
Basic Stretching Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
- Neck Stretches – Many people unknowingly suffer from neck tension. Neck tension can contribute to headaches and migraines, nausea, and other unpleasant conditions. A few neck stretches a day can help alleviate these symptoms. Be especially careful when stretching your neck because it is easy to hurt yourself.
- Incline your neck forward, back, left, and right, always returning to the center before moving in another direction. Do not roll your head from side to side!
- Shoulder Stretches – Sitting upright all day puts strain on your shoulders. Here are some quick shoulder stretches for you to try.
- Grab your forearm with the opposite arm and pull until you feel your shoulder being stretched.
- Stand tall with your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for a few seconds until you feel a stretch. Repeat a few more times.
- Tricep Stretches – Reach up with your right arm, bend your right elbow and pull your forearm down behind your head and between your shoulder blades. Do the same with the opposite arm.
- Wrist Stretches – Hold your arm out and put your hand upside down. Pull your hand down with your opposite hand. Repeat with other hand. Repeat with wrist turned in opposite direction.
- Leg Stretches – Stand on one leg and pull your other leg up behind you. You can put your hand against a wall for balance.
- Groin Stretches – Stand with your legs astride. Bend one leg and put your hands on the knee. Bend your leg even more and put more weight on the leg. Repeat on the opposite leg.
A Daily Stretching Routine is Best
You should make it a point to stretch a few times a day, particularly on days which you are most inactive. Stretching is also very important after exercising, so that your muscles don't get knotted and sore after you cool down. If you get into a regular habit of taking a few minutes, several times each day, to go through a couple of your stretching exercises, you'll find that you're not nearly as prone to tired, aching muscles at the end of a long day. Give it a try.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help
If you'd like to explore what stretching exercises can add to your fitness routine and you want to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists. We'd be happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by any of our four store locations or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.