I am stunned at the amount of people I have spoken to who don’t stretch daily. Stretching is so important, not only to prevent injury when you workout, but when you wake up in the morning and before going to bed at night. Stretching gives you many health benefits such as:
- Increasing muscle elasticity and flexibility
- Relieving stress
- Improving blood circulation
- Promoting good balance and coordination
- Alleviating lower back pain
Morning stretching is a great way to start your day. It will send fresh blood and oxygen throughout your body, waking you up and giving you energy. By stretching in the morning you are preparing your muscles and joints to move freely throughout the day.
Here are 2 of my morning stretches:
- Lie on your back and pull your right leg up to your chest holding it at the knee for 8-10 breaths (keep your left leg relaxed and flat on the floor). Slowly return your right leg to the floor and repeat with your left leg. Then repeat with both legs at the same time, hugging your knees to your chest. This stretch will loosen the muscles in your legs.
- Stand up, with your feet together, bring your arms over your head and form a pistol-grip with your hands, slowly stretch up then gently move from left to right for about 10 – 15 breaths. This stretch will stretch and loosen your spine.
Stretching is great form of stress relief so some light stretching before bed will help relax the body and mind so you can fall asleep easily.
Here are 2 of my evening stretches:
- Sit on floor and bend your right knee, bring the sole of your left foot to your right inner thigh. Lift your butt and extend your left leg behind you (your toes should be pointing away from you). Bend forward slowly supporting yourself with your forearms and aim your forehead for the floor (you can use a pillow for your forehead if you find it difficult to bend all the way to the floor). Hold for 10 breaths then slowly come out and repeat with your left side.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Place your right hand on your left elbow and your left hand on your right elbow. Slowly bend over from the hips, letting your arms and head hang down (like a rag doll). Hold for 10 breaths then gently roll back up.
It only takes as little as 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed to stretch so you shouldn’t have any excuses, and I can assure you that you will notice a difference in the way your body feels.
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