FLEXIBILITY is key to our physical and mental wellbeing. It seems unnecessary, because I have met a number of people who don’t stretch. Fortunately or unfortunately, stretching is the only way to gain flexibility
A major benefit is that it reduces your risk of injury. How? Flexibility is about removing tightness in the muscles, increasing their range of movement and keeping them supple.
This tightness is what affects how quickly your physical body responds to your mental reflexes in times of danger.
Increasing muscle range of movement is also very necessary for restoring balance to the body after hours of movement or lack of movement.
Some people workout regularly and don’t stretch. This is very dangerous, because during the exercise process, your muscles (dependant on what muscle groups you are working) are constantly elongating and contracting. After exercise, the muscles will shrink, becoming shorter and tighter. The stretching process helps to reduce the shrinkage that happens.
Once your body is out of balance, you are again more open to injuries. In fact, injuries just show up everywhere, with back pain being one of the most common.
Stretching is also great for calming your head and keeping your refreshed long after you have finished the stretch.
Below are some poses that will help your balance while working on you.
Throughout your stretches, keep your breath even and regular and hold your stomach muscles in as much as you can.
The first two poses are to be done on one side before, repeating on the other side.
Stand with your feet about four feet apart. Turn your left foot slightly in towards your right and your right foot also turns right at a 90-degree angle.
Turn your hips to face your right foot and bring your hands up to shoulder level parallel to the floor. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bend your right knee over your right foot as parallel to the floor as you can.
Keep your face and shoulders relaxed, but imagine your hands are being pulled away from you in opposite directions.
Keep yourself strong and centered, hold your stomach muscles in. Hold for 30 counts. Then, move to the next pose.
Muscles works: Quadriceps (top of thigh), Hamstring (back of thigh), Calfs, Hip Flexors, Rotator cuff- (shoulders), Biceps and Triceps (front and back of arm).
From the above pose, bring your left hand to the floor next to your right foot. Turn your left foot so your weight also moves to the ball of your foot.
Stretch your right hand up towards the ceiling (imagine your hand pulled by a rope from the ceiling). Turn your face also towards the ceiling.
If your neck hurts, look down to your lower hand. Spread your weight evenly and make sure your knee is just over your foot. Keep your stomach held in. Hold for 30 counts. Repeat on other side.
Muscles works; Hip Flexors, Quadriceps (top of thigh), Hamstring (back of thigh), Back.
Sit comfortably on your sitting bones. Bring your feet together in front of you by bending your knees.
Hold your upper body up, with your stomach held in. Place your hands on either side of you. Keep your shoulders and elbows soft, while imagining little weights on your inner thighs. Now stretch one hand over your head with your palm facing down, stretching through your side from your waist. Keep yourself evenly distributed on your bum and make sure you don’t rest on the lower hand. Hold for 30 counts
Muscles worked: Obliques (sides), Hip Adductors (inner thighs).
Come to your hands and knees, with your knees directly below hips and your hands under your shoulders.
Push up and lift your knees off the floor, straightening legs. Take your heels towards the floor, relax your shoulders and let your head fall in between your arms.
To come out off this, bend your knees and walk your hands towards your feet and slowly unroll your spine up.