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What are Some Stretching Exercises?

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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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Often overlooked even by frequent exercisers, stretching is a vital component to any fitness routine and to anyone who wishes to keep movement fluid and smooth throughout the aging process. Stretching exercises keep muscles supple and counteracts the tightening effects of strenuous activities that lead to inflexibility, and it is especially essential for serious athletes as it helps to prevent injury and ensures full range of motion. Though there are hundreds of ways to stretch, but a beginning stretcher can start with the basic stretching exercises below.

Calf Stretch: Stand at arm's length from a wall, with toes pointing towards the wall. Place palms flat against the surface of the wall, then move one leg about a foot’s length forward. Lean into the wall, bending the knee on the leg closest to the wall. A stretch should be felt in the calf of the leg farthest from the wall. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, relax, and then repeat. Switch legs and repeat the process for the calf on the other leg.

Groin Stretch: Sit on the floor with legs pulled toward the body, and the soles of the feet touching. Place elbows on the inside of the knees, then press down, moving the knees toward the floor. A stretch should be felt on the upper portion of the inner thigh. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, relax, and then repeat.

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Back Stretch: Kneel on the floor with legs at a 90 degree angle. The back should be flat and the arms should be locked with palms flat against the floor. Tighten the abdominal muscles and tilt the pelvis inward so the back arches and up toward the ceiling, just like a cat stretches. A stretch should be felt at the top of the buttocks and lower back. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, relax, and then repeat.

Hamstring Stretch: Stand with legs straight, and cross the left foot over the right. Bend towards the floor as far as possible. A stretch should be felt on the upper portion of the back legs. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, relax, and then repeat.

Arm/Shoulder Stretch: Stand with the back straight and reach with the left arm across the chest. Use the right hand to pull the arm in towards the body. A stretch should be felt in the shoulder and the upper portion at the back of the arm. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, relax, and then repeat. Repeat the process again using the right arm.

Again, there are hundreds of stretching exercises to utilize, but the key is to do at least a few every day. As flexibility increases, stretch a bit farther and hold the stretch longer. Using a variety of stretching exercises will ensure all muscles and tendons are flexible and capable of a full range of motion.

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Raynbow
Post 4

@heavanet- Simply walking is a great way to stretch your entire body. If you have a fitness trail or park in your area, map out a mile and try to take this walk at least 3 times a week. Or, if you prefer, take a walk around your neighborhood that equals a mile. In a few weeks, you will be very pleased at how much more flexible your muscles begin to feel.

Ocelot60
Post 3

@heavanet- You have a good point, because stretching motions that focus on the whole body are great for preparing you to do any other exercises.

A good one to try is to lay flat on your back and stretch your arms over your head while stretching your legs. Think of how you stretch when you wake up in the morning, and do that while holding the position for several counts of 30.

You can also do an all-body stretch by standing straight and reaching your arms straight up in the air while standing on your tip-toes. Again, hold this position for at least a count of 30, and repeat it several times.

Heavanet
Post 2

Is there a good way to do an all-body stretch? I think that would be good to do to warm up and wind down after doing an exercise regimen that focuses on stretching each body part.

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