Stretching is a key activity for our overall well-being. It helps reduce pains, improve posture, increase blood circulation (therefore getting more oxygen to every cell in your body), therefore making you feel so much better!
It is important to perform these exercises in a daily basis and apply them to take some minutes off your sitting hours on the office or to fully relax at home. If you are practicing a sport, the best way to go is to stretch before and after.
For some people stretching may be an unpleasant moment. This can be trained and modified so it can even get to be enjoyable! When performing the exercise concentrate on your breathing. It should complement the muscle activity. Breathe in and gently breathe out trying to make this process slower and slower. Connect with yourself. Relax.
Adapt the stretching. Be aware of how your body feels. Distinguish between the pain that is produced by the effort of the exercise and the pain of being uncomfortably positioned or demanding too much for that specific moment.
We offer you some exercises just to get started!
Standing and to the sides
Stand up with your feet together, slightly separated by the length of your shoulders. Lift your arms so your hands are above your head. Interlace your fingers and leave the pointer finger extended to the ceiling. Inhale as you reach upwards. Exhale as you gently leave your upper body down to one side. Your arms are still extended above your head without bending the elbows. Take some gentle and slow breaths and return to the center. Repeat to the other side and as much times as you need.
Hands to toes
Standing with your feet slightly separated; start relaxing your head down. Let the weight of your head gently guide you downwards. When you reach the end of this movement let your neck relax away, followed by your spine, till your hands reach your toes or till they are left hanging near them. Your back, head, neck, shoulders and arms should rest down and your legs and feet will support your weight. Remember breath in and out letting this position stretch your entire body. After a few seconds, start your way up starting by your hips, abs, spine, neck and head. Repeat.
Hand to opposite toe
Stand up with your feet as separate as you can without losing balance. Lift your arms up to the sides to a shoulder level. Lead your right hand to your left toe bending your spine and supporting yourself with your abs and legs. As your right hand is touching your left toe your left hand will rise up in the air. Change to the other side by directing your left hand to the right toe. Inhale when heading to one side and exhale when changing to the other. Let your spine stretch away!
Stand with your feet separately (shoulder length). Touch the floor with your hands. Breathe in and out several times and gently get your hips down so your gluteal muscles can touch your heels. Relax your neck and head. Your weight is supported by your hands and toes. Repeat by getting your hips up for a few more seconds. And down again.