Great for flexibility, stretching is suitable for all fitness levels. When stretching, make sure to stretch only to the point of mild tension, never to the point of pain. If a stretch hurts, stop doing it. Reset your position carefully and try again. With time and practice, your flexibility will improve. Improving and maintaining flexibility through stretching keeps you limber, while also preventing injury and helping you maximise the potential of your body.
Before you stretch
Mobilise your muscles so they’re warm and able to stretch easily.
Sit on the floor cross-legged or in any comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Slowly start to roll your shoulders in full circles, backwards then forwards. Try to make each breath last slightly longer than the last, but don’t hold your breath.
Your 5 morning stretches
- Hip lift
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms by your sides. Gently raise your hips up off the floor and squeeze your buttocks together. Raise your arms up over your head. Inhale and hold the stretch as you lengthen your spine.
Exhale and slowly bring your arms down, releasing your buttocks and returning to the starting position. Repeat. Don’t lift too high or arch your back on the lift. Stand up slowly.
- Side stretch
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold your tummy in and clench your buttocks slightly. Inhale. Reach your right arm up high to stretch the right side of your body. Exhale on the lift and hold the stretch. Repeat on the left. You should feel the stretch in your side and back muscles.
- Side bend
Stand with your hips square and your knees soft. Hold your arms down by your side and slowly bend to the right as far as you can go without twisting your upper body. Hold. Repeat on the left. You should feel this exercise deep in the sides of your body and in your spine.
- Easy side twist
Keeping your feet apart, hold your hands out in front of your chest. Move your torso to the left and slowly rotate your arms to the left as far as you can. Pause and then rotate to the right. You should feel your waist and tummy muscles working. This exercise is great for the core muscles!
- Back stretch
Stand with your hips square and your knees slightly bent. Interlace your fingers and hold them out in front of you at shoulder height. Turn your palms outwards and extend your arms until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. This stretch works your shoulders, upper back, arms and hands.
Now you’re ready for the day ahead!
Stretching not only can improve your body physically, but mentally as well. Beginning your day with a few calming stretches can put your mind in the right place to handle the day ahead. It should be noted that it’s a good idea to talk to an expert before starting any new form of exercise, especially if you’re unsure about it. Always stop stretching if you feel any pain and take gradual steps. From there, you’ll begin to feel and see the benefits of stretching