When we’re younger, most of us can’t wait to grow up. From getting your driver’s license to graduating college, there are tons of fun-filled milestones you reach as you age. On the other hand, there are also some significant downsides to getting older, particularly when it comes to your body.
While getting older is natural and different, we can sometimes forget that our bodies age with us. When we don’t take care of our bodies, the years can take their toll, often in the forms of aching backs, sore knees, and creaky hips. If any of these things sound like you, you’re in the right place!
Every person will need different solutions to their aches and pains, but there are a few quick and simple stretches you can add to your daily repertoire that might help your body out of its slump. Everyday stretches like these can help with muscle soreness and help to prevent injury in the future, so take a few minutes to invest in your joints!
What Are The Benefits of Stretching Daily?
Unless you regularly practice yoga or already have a daily stretching routine, chances are you don’t do a whole lot of stretching in your day-to-day life. Between work, cooking, chores, and all the other tasks that make up the average person’s day, stretching probably falls pretty low on the priority ladder.
That being said, daily stretching is relatively crucial when it comes to your health. Stretching helps keep your muscles flexible and allows your joints to move in their full range of motion. Tight muscles can lead to misalignment, pain, and possibly injury, so keeping them loose and flexible is essential.
Before diving headlong into our list of stretches, you should know about the different types of stretching possible. In general, there are three main types; dynamic stretching, static stretching, and ballistic stretching.
Dynamic stretches are stretches that are combined with a low level of activity, like butt-kickers and lunges. This type of stretching helps blood flow to your muscles while stretching and is best used right before your workout.
Static stretching is your straight-forward, standard stretching. While dynamic stretching is best for pre-workout, static stretching is suitable for any time of day.
Ballistic stretching is a combination of the two, where you “bounce” in a static stretch. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a good practice, and you may injure yourself. In general, stick with the first two types of stretching.
Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the medical advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Stretches To Do Every Day
There’s a stretch for just about every muscle and joint in the body in the world of stretching. With such a wide range to choose from, it can be hard to know exactly what you should be focusing on. While everyone will have slightly different needs, physical therapists recommend focusing on the hip flexors, back, and shoulders to start.
These three areas are the most common sources of aches and pains, and by targeting them, you might notice a big difference in your day-to-day life. If, after trying these stretches, you still feel something out of whack, it might be worth a trip to a personal trainer or medical practitioner.
Neck and Shoulder
To begin any stretching practice, it’s a good idea to start slowly and work your way into the more extensive stretches. One way to accomplish this is with a neck and shoulder roll! Start by letting your neck roll slowly from side to side. Move smoothly from either side, making sure not to over-stretch or unnaturally move your neck.
After a minute or so of neck rolls, switch to slow shoulder rolls, forwards and backward. Many people hold tension in their neck and shoulders, especially those who work desk jobs or jobs that require a lot of computer work. Roll your shoulders in wide circles, and switch the direction after a minute. If you want to add some variation, start doing one-armed circles, beginning with the left arm.
Back and Legs
Moving down from the shoulders, the next stretch on our list helps to target your back and the back of your legs. Though it may seem simple, one of the best stretches for this is an essential toe touch! The critical part to focus on in this stretch is folding at the hips rather than rounding your back.
Start by letting gravity pull your upper body towards the ground, keeping your legs straight and back flat. Move gradually, and only until you feel a stretch in your back and the backs of your legs. If you’re unaccustomed to stretching, this stretch will take some getting used to. Dangle your arms, and reach as far as you are able. With daily stretching, this pose will get easier until you are touching your toes with ease.
Plenty of stretches target your hip flexors, but one of the most common is the butterfly stretch. You have likely seen or done this stretch before, but be careful to still follow proper form.
Start by sitting on the floor and pressing the soles of your feet together in front of your body. Leave your feet as far in front of you as you need to, and only go until you feel a stretch. This stretch can help increase your range of motion as you gradually move your feet closer to your body.
Your hamstrings also make this list of reliably tight muscles, and stretching the muscles along the back of your thighs can help more areas of the body than just your legs. To stretch your hamstrings, you will need to lie down on the floor and grab a long towel.
Lay down with both legs fully extended, and bring the left leg up towards your chest, keeping the right leg straight on the ground. If you can, touch the toes of your left leg in the air, or wrap the towel around your foot and use it as an extension to help you into the stretch. The towel can also go behind your left knee, depending on your level of flexibility.
Though this stretch might seem intimidating at first, it is a fantastic hamstring stretch, and it will open up a few other muscles as you deepen it.
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