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Daily Stretches You Should Do

06 Sep. 2022
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It can be a bit of a struggle getting up every morning and instantly jumping into action. Some days you might get going very quickly - and other days you might start the day off feeling slow, sluggish and full of aches & pains.

This is likely caused by the type of day you had previously – you might have been hunched over a computer, not moving around enough, or perhaps just had a poor night’s sleep.

One way of shaking off those morning pains, as well as preventing them in the future, is having a set of stretches you can do at any point in the day. The optimal situation is to do them in the morning or/or at night before sleep.

Why Is Stretching Useful?

Before we jump into the stretches, what is so good about stretching and what are the actual benefits of doing them?

Stretching before we exercise (or do any sort of physical activity) helps to reduce the chance of injury as it signals the body that activity is about to begin. If your goal is to get a stretch on before exercise - then dynamic stretching is the way to go.

Dynamic stretching is stretching that involves movement, as opposed to static stretches which are when you hold poses in place.

Before exercise, stretches are far better if they are dynamic as they activate a wider range of your body. You use a broader array of movements when doing dynamic stretching compared to static stretching.

However, if you’ve just woken up and you simply want to shake off your weariness and wake up your muscles, then a static stretch is more than enough!

4 Benefits of Stretching

Stretching can benefit your body in several ways. Let’s delve into a few areas where it can help you out the most.

Mobility

Regular stretching helps to improve your range of mobility, especially if you practice stretching regularly and increase the variety of movements you do. We’re all familiar with the feeling of our shoulders, neck and back starting to feel cramped together – stretching can solve that by pulling apart and activating your muscles.

Injury

As mentioned before, stretching is a great way to minimise the risk of injury whilst exercising, and can also alleviate certain repetitive strain injuries. These can include neck or lower back pains associated with being hunched over a computer all day.  

Relaxation

It is also a great way to relax and start your day on a mindful note. Unlike regular exercise, stretching isn’t really focused on calorie burning. The greater purpose is to develop mindfulness and an awareness of one’s body, which can be very therapeutic.

Posture

One of the biggest benefits of regular stretching is the improvement in our individual posture. Muscles that are in the same position for long periods can end up contracting and becoming tighter, thus making our bodies feel bunched up and curled over.

Stretching those muscles out regularly (ideally multiple times a day) can help reduce that bunching up and is an excellent way of countering the hours of sitting in one place.

The Stretches

In order to optimise your physical health without too much effort, here are 5 daily stretches you can work into your routines.

Neck Stretch

Performed either seated or standing, the neck stretch can really help ease any tension developed from a day sitting behind the computer.

● In a seated position, place your left hand onto the right side of your head with your right arm stretched behind your back.

● Pull your head gently to the left side until you can feel a slight stretch developing, hold this position for 20-30 seconds.

● Flip the action to stretch the other side.

Hamstring Stretch

A hamstring stretch is a perfect way to get your back and legs activated and release tension that has built up in your legs.

● Lie down on the floor.

● Raise your legs into the air and place a towel onto the base of one foot.

● Slowly extend that leg into the air, you should feel a stretch but stop if you feel any pain.

● Once you can feel the stretch, hold for 30 seconds and then repeat for the other leg.

Knee-to-chest

● Lying on your back, simply place your hands onto one knee and bring it towards your chest.

● This should result in a stretch in your lower back,

● Hold it for up to 30 seconds and repeat with both knees.

If you’re comfortable with this stretch, you can try doing both knees at the same time with one hand on each knee.

Hip Stretch

A hip roll is perfect if you want to target an increase in mobility. This stretch helps to release tension and increase mobility around the hip area, lower back and chest.

● Lying on your back with legs bent at the knee, place your feet flat against the ground and place both arms out to the side.

● Roll your left leg over your body to your right side, keep your feet flat on the floor and your arms planted down.

● Hold that position briefly before returning to your starting position.

● Repeat on either side for a total of 5-15 times.

Shoulder Stretch

● In a standing position, release the tension in your shoulders and let them hang.

● When comfortable, reach your right arm across your body so it is facing out towards your left.

● You can support the stretch with your left arm.

● Try to hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds before repeating with the other arm.

You can do a couple of sets of this stretch as it is a great way of loosening up your shoulders.

The Bottom Line

When done properly, stretching can be a great way to elevate your physical and mental health. Check out a few of the stretching techniques above to get started with your stretching journey!

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