The Art of Stretching: Lower Your Risk of Pain and Injury with These 30+ Stretching Exercises

Some experts agree that stretching is actually a simple but extremely beneficial activity when it is done properly. It is the deliberate lengthening of the muscles with the purpose to increase muscle flexibility, as well as joint range of motion.

Such activities are vital in any exercise or rehabilitation program, because they warm up our body before the physical workout and lower the risk of muscle soreness, as well as injury. They will help in warming up the body before the activity in that way decreasing the risk of injury and muscle soreness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are the five benefits of stretching:

• Increased flexibility and joint range of motion – flexible muscles can actually improve your every day performance. Some tasks like lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you are getting older, but you can regain, and even maintain it.

• Improved circulation – stretching will increase blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to the muscles will bring nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue too. Improved circulation can actually help shorten your recovery time if you had some muscle injury.

• Better posture – frequent stretching can also help in keeping your muscles from getting tight, permitting you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort, as well as keep aches and pains at a minimum.

• Stress relief – stretching will relax tight, tense muscles which often accompany stress.

• Enhanced coordination – maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints will keep you in some better balance. Coordination and balance are going to keep you mobile and less prone to some injuries from falls, particularly as you get older.

Here, we will present you a list of stretches which you can do during the whole day and reap all the benefits of stretching:

• HEAD

Lateral side flexion of the neck (fig.7)

Target: Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”

Sitting on a chair, as well as clutching the bottom of the seat will enable you to intensify the stretch.

Neck rotation stretch (fig.8)

Target: SCM

For a deeper stretch, you should press with your opposite hand.

Neck extension stretch (fig.9)

Target: SCM

You should remember that you have to be very careful not to collapse your cervical spine.

Lateral side flexion of the neck with hand assistance (fig.10)

Target: SCM

For a deeper stretch, you should sit on a chair and grab its bottom.

• UPPER BODY

Forearm extensor stretch

Target: Forearm extensor

In order too extend the stretch you should touch the tips of your fingers in a teacup shape.

Lateral shoulder stretch (fig.13)

Target: Side deltoid

Standing assisted neck flexion stretch (fig.14)

Target: Trapezius muscle

Lat stretch with spinal traction (fig.15)

Target: Latissimus dorsi

If you are suffering from a shoulder pain, you should avoid this stretch.

Lat stretch at the wall (fig.16)

Target: Latissimus dorsi

If you are suffering from lower back pain, you should avoid this stretch.

Child’s pose (fig.17)

Target: Latissimus dorsi

Lateral flexion with a dowel (fig.27)

Target: External obliques and latissimus dorsi

If you are suffering from lower back pain, you should avoid this stretch

Triangle pose (fig.28)

Target: External obliques

While you are rotating away, you should stare in the hand in the air.

Chest stretch at the wall (fig.29)

Target: Pectorals

Remember that you should not feel shoulder stretch while you are doing it.

Assisted chest stretch (fig.30)

Target: Chest and latissimus dorsi

You are not supposed to do this stretch if you have shoulder problems.

Supine shoulder external rotation stretch (fig.32)

Target: Subscapularis

In case the hand is far from the floor, your rotator cuff is tight.

Down dog variation at the wall (fig.33)

Target: Pectorals and latissimus dorsi

You should bend the knees in case your hamstrings are tight

Assisted chest stretch variation (fig.34)

Target: Pectorals

You should not do this stretch if you have some shoulder problems.

Standing upper trapezius stretch (fig.35)

Target: Upper trapezius muscle

You should hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Standing upper back extension (fig.36)

Target: Teres major, rhomboids, and upper traps

You should hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.

• LOWER BODY

Camel pose (fig.1)

Target: Rectus abdominous and external obliques

If you have neck problems, you should not drop the head back.

Wide forward fold (fig.2)

Target: Abductors

You can also lie down on the floor, as well as elevate the feet up the wall.

Frog pose (fig.3)

Target: Abductors

For a deeper stretch, you should push the hips back and forward.

Wide side lunge pose (Fig.4)

Target: Abductors

Your feet should be flat on the floor.

Butterfly stretch (fig.5)

Target: Abductors

You should bring the feet farther from the hips and then slowly round the upper body to stretch the back muscles.

Half kneeling quad/hip flexor stretch (fig.11)

Target: Psoas and quadriceps

In order too deepen the hip flexor stretch, squeeze the back foot to the back glute.

Standing calf stretch (fig.18)

Target: Soleus and gastrocnemius (low body)

While you are stretching, you should lightly rotate the ankles.

Front split (fig.19)

Target: Psoas and hamstring

You should use a chair as a support while you are releasing the hip flexors and hamstrings.

Seated forward fold/seated toe touch (fig.20)

Target: Hamstrings and calves

You can lie down on the back, as well as place the feet up the wall.

Single leg forward bend (fig.21)

Target: Hamstrings

Deep squat (fig.22)

Target: Glutes

You can lie down on the back and also place the feet up the wall.

Seated half king pigeon pose (fig.23)

Target: Glutes

You should feel the stretch only in the glutes.

Standing calf stretch at the wall (Fig.24)

Target: Soleus and gastrocnemius (low)

Lateral flexion at the wall (fig.25)

Target: External obliques

In case you are suffering from lower back pain, you should avoid this stretch.

Supine twist (fig.26)

Target: Glutes and external obliques

When your knees are lower, you are going to stretch the lumbar spine, and when they are higher, stretch is more profound in the upper spine.

Seated half pigeon variation (Fig.31)

Target: Anterior tibialis

In order too deepen the stretch on the hip, you should lean forward.

Source: healthyfoodhouse

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