Do you want to keep your body feeling strong and healthy? Then you need to stretch. Being able to be limber throughout your life will have numerous positive effects on posture, strength and functionality. By starting each day with some sort of yoga, pilates or stretching routine, you’ll be able to become a healthier, stronger and more athletic being.
Follow this quick 10-minute routine you can do first thing in the morning, before you make that first pot of coffee and read the paper. Set you’re alarm a few minutes earlier and reap the benefits from the following life-saving routine!
✓ Split Leg Hamstring Stretch
Whether is be sitting at a desk or even those who stand and are on their feet long hours of the day, stretching the hamstrings is extremely beneficial to start your day. If you’re one that experiences a lot of knee pain, tight hamstrings could be the culprits behind the pain. Keeping the hamstring loose and lengthened will help with better posture as well as a more fluid walking/running motion in your day-to-day activities. This stretches the hamstrings as well as the lower back- another troublesome area. Here’s how it looks:
☐ Start this stretch by sitting on the floor with the legs in a Y- pattern to your torso
☐ Begin the stretch by reaching down one leg, not necessarily reaching for the toe, but trying to touch the chest to the knee
☐ This will ensure your core is engaged and in a better and safer position to properly stretch the hamstrings
☐ Hold for 45 seconds then relax for 15 and then go a little further for an additional 30 seconds
☐ Repeat for 1:30 minute on the other side
✓ Glute/Hip Opener
It’s impossible to not sit for long hours of the day, whether for work from 9-5 or at home watching TV. Knee pain can be derived from sitting and allowing the hamstrings to become tight, but this also leads to the glutes and hips becoming tight. The glutes and hips become taught and are like pieces of old leather that don’t allow for any sort of squatting or bending motion without a good amount of oil. Using this stretch first thing in the morning allows you to get your self in line properly before you even set foot out the door.
☐ While lying on the ground, pull your right heel up to your torso with the left leg still fully extended
☐ Place the outside of the ankle of your right foot just above your left knee and then slide the left leg up to your body as well
☐ The further you are able to get your heel to your glute, the greater the stretch
☐ Once in a manageable position, place both hands behind your body and allow the hips to come off the ground a few inches
☐ This will stretch the glutes and open up the hips, depending on the angle
☐ Repeat on the other side for a total of 1 minute 30 seconds per leg
✓ Upward Dog
We may not all be yoga instructors, but this move will do wonders for your body. Any sort of back or shoulder pain is 9/10 related to poor posture and bad mechanics in the gym. Use a Lifting Belt to help avoid this. The Upward Dog pose allows you to open up the front delts and the chest and allow some room for expansion of the lungs to get some really nice, deep breaths. Also, with the arms fully extended, the core and arms are stretched making this a must-do for total body balancing.
☐ Start in a plank position with the arms and elbows tucked into your sides
☐ Move yourself into the bottom portion of a push-up
☐ Keep the butt/hips down and press up with the upper body, leaving the tops of your toes and your hands the only things on the ground
☐ Spread your fingertips as wide as possible and make sure to keep your chest up and the shoulders squeezed back and down as much as possible
☐ Hold this pose for 4 total minutes, resting about every minute or as needed
Take Home Message
Although stretching doesn’t sound like something you need to do, let alone every morning, it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do to further your fitness career and your life in general. Use these stretches daily to hit all areas of your body and don’t be afraid to spend a little more time on your tighter areas.