Try to think back to the last time you stretched. Try to remember the last time you got a full body, deep, intense stretch in. With working from home and remote learning still being an option, we may not be getting enough movement each day being glued to our chairs. Stretching can help you become more flexible, mobile, and possibly lower your blood pressure. Get up and thank your body for all it does for you each day with some loving, intentional, stretches Sunday through Saturday.
Day 1: Touch your toes
By just standing up and touching your toes, you’ll get a phenomenal stretch down your spine and in your legs. If you can’t touch your toes, try each day to get further and further. You can also do this stretch sitting down with your legs right in front of you. Try to get your nose to your knees.
Day 2: Downward dog
Place your hands on the ground in front of you, and then keep your feet planted on the ground with your toes pointed forward. Your body should look like a mountain or an upside down V. Really push your palms into the floor. This allows gravity to boost your circulation by increasing blood flow. Downward dog also opens up the chest and shoulders, which can help align your spine and straighten your vertebrae, resulting in better posture.
Day 3: Seated butterfly
Sit on the floor and think of “criss cross applesauce,” but have the bottoms of your feet touch. This is a hip opener that engages your thighs and groin. Try to push your knees to the floor. This aids in the improvement of posture and body awareness. The position focuses on the muscles of the low back, hips, and thighs, which helps to relieve pain, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion.
Day 4: Child’s Pose
Get on the ground and spread your knees as wide on the floor as possible. Let your stomach rest between your thighs and rest your forehead on the floor. This stretches the spine, thighs, hips, and ankles. This can also release tension in your lower back.
Day 5: Bridge or Backbend
Lay on your back and push up your hips by keeping your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be parallel throughout the floor and reach your fingers towards your heels. This strengthens the back, glutes, legs and ankles, as well as opening up the chest, heart and hip flexors. This also stretches the chest, neck, shoulders and spine. If you think you can get into a backbend, try from the floor and this should give the same effect and will feel really good after sitting down all day.
Day 6: Straddle
Sit on the floor and open your legs. Try to keep them straight and reach forward in the middle. This opens your hips and increases flexibility in the back of the thighs and legs. This stretch can also lengthen the neck, increase lung capacity by opening the ribs, and stretch inner thighs. For a challenge, try to get your forehead to the floor!
Day 7: The splits
Try to get your legs in line with each other and extended in opposite directions. Stretching exercises like the splits have also been shown to aid with serious health problems like Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease by improving muscle strength, motor control, and circulation. Getting your splits is a great goal to try to achieve. By stretching a little each day, this can be achievable!
A stretch a day can leave a smile on your face, as it releases anxiety and boosts your mood! After trying these seven stretches, incorporate stretching into your daily routine. This is just a stretching starter guide… you can advance to two a day, even three, and come up with a gentle stretching routine. This stretch time is also a form of self care, reflection, and a time in your day to just relax and take a deep breath.