Home, sweet home! The place where we all feel comfortable and safe. We can kick back and watch TV, we can exercise, and do almost everything. Why don’t stretch? People really underestimate the benefits of stretching. Stretch exercises can be easily performed without any special equipment at home.
Our body functions best when our muscles are both strong and elastic. No matter what your fitness goal is we should stretch at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion and maintain healthy lifestyle. Here you can find stretch exercises that you can easily do at the comfort of your own home.
Flexibility is really important for some people. Older people, people with daily postural habits (as sitting in front of the computer for multiple hours every day), or diseases, know how important flexibility could be. For the other group of people stretching is not urgent but very important.
Low back pain is a common for our sedentary lifestyle. Stretch exercises can really help. Adults should stretch two to three days a week. Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat each stretch three to four times. I like to separate my stretching routine on two parts. Upper body including- biceps, triceps, shoulder, back and chest, and lower body- abdominal muscles, low back, hamstring, quadriceps and calf. In the days I workout for upper body I will stretch my lower body, and in the days I workout lower body I stretch upper body muscles.
Stretch exercises are a lot more effective when muscles are warm. Try light aerobic, or a hot bath to warm the muscles up before stretching. Breath deeply, relax, and enjoy the stretch.
Upper body stretch exercises:
- Stretch exercise for biceps-Kneel on the floor with your hands in front of you and palms completely around, so that your fingers are pointing toward your body. Push against your wrists to a point determined by your own comfort level. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and after a short break repeat for three, four times. Don’t forget to breathe deeply.
- Stretch exercise for triceps-Stand tall and put your left elbow over your head. Reach and hold to that elbow with your right hand. Reach the fingertips of the left arm down your spine. Keep the shoulders relaxed away from the ears. When you feel a stretch in your triceps hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Change the arms, and after a short break repeat for three to four times. Breathe deeply.
- Stretch exercise for shoulders-Raise one arm above the head while holding a towel. Place the opposite arm behind your back, and take a tight hold of the other end of the towel. Slowly extend the arm above the head to feel the stretch in the opposite shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat wit the opposite arm. Repeat the stretch for another 3 to 4 times.
- Stretch exercise for upper back-Stand up straight. Raise one of your arms in front of your body. Use the opposite arm to hold just behind the raised arm elbow, and pull towards the body. You will feel a stretch in your shoulder and upper back. Hold in the mild comfort of the stretch for 15 to 30 sec. , and change the arms. Repeat the stretch for another 3 to 4 times.
- Stretch exercise for chest-Stand up straight, and face one of the walls at your home. Place your feet shoulder width apart for balance. Place the right palm of your hand against the wall. The stretching process begins when you rotate your body to the left. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 sec. and change the arms. Again, don’t forget to breath and repeat the stretch 3 to 4 times.
Lower body stretch exercises:
- Stretch exercise for abs-Lie on the floor in a prone position. Place your palms on the floor beneath the shoulders. Exhale and push up, keeping the hips on the floor. When you feel stretch in your abdominals, hold it for 15 to 30 sec. , and repeat 3 to 4 times for best results.
- Stretch exercise for low back-a low back pain can be prevent or treated by stretching. First exercise. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart for balance. Reach down as trying to touch your toes. Hold at your comfort zone for 15 to 30 sec. Second exercise. Align shoulders over wrists and knees over hips. Exhale and draw your navel to the spine, rounding your back and dropping your chin. Inhale and lift your head, slightly hyper-extending the spine.
- Stretch exercise for hamstring- Hamstring is the muscle located in the back of your thigh. To stretch the hamstring muscle stand straight in front of a chair. Rest the heel of one foot on the chair’s seat, knee extended. Keep the spine erect as you exhale, and lean forward from the hip relaxing into your stretch. Hold the stretch for 15-30 sec. and repeat with the other leg. Perform the stretch 3-4 sets for best results.
- Stretch exercise for quadriceps –The quads are located on upper front part of the leg. To stretch the quadriceps, stand straight, extend the hip, and point the knee toward the floor. You can hold to something for balance. Avoid leaning forward with a flexed hip as you can lose balance. Stretch for 15-30 sec. and change legs. Perform the stretch 3-4 sets for best results.
- Stretch exercise for calf-The calf muscle is located below the knee. To stretch the calf you need to start with facing a wall. Place both hands on the wall for balance. Place one of the legs in front of the other around 10-15 inch a part. Keep your spine( low back) erect(straight). A little trick to do that is to push your chest out and in return you will get your spine erect. From this position start to bent your front leg knee until you feel stretch in the opposite leg. Don’t lift your back foot from the floor, and hold the stretch for 20-30 sec. Change legs, breath, and repeat another 3-4 times.
Having good range of motion, flexibility will help you prevent injuries, treat injuries, or pain in some cases, and will make you feel good and alive.