This week we are going to share a little health tip with all of you: stretching in the morning just after you wake up and also before you go to bed at night. We often get caught up in a busy life and often forget about performing regular stretches. Stretching every day is recommended for maintaining tissue elasticity and preventing future musculoskeletal injuries.
Today I am going to show you four of my favourites stretching exercises that do not require any equipment at all!
1) Butterfly Pose
Start by sitting up straight on a yoga mat or on your bed. Begin by bending your knees so that the bottom of your foot is touching each other. Slowly bring both of your ankles towards your pelvis. When you feel a stretch in your inner thigh (hip adductors), hold that position for 20-30 seconds, and repeat 3 times. This exercise can help release the tension in your groin area.
2) Pigeon Pose
Begin in a low lunge position, rotate your hip outward until your knee touches the ground. Slowly position your leg so that your front knee is bent at 90 degrees, and the shin bone is perpendicular to your body, extend the back leg as far as you can. You should feel a stretch in the buttock area of your front leg, as well as your anterior hip in the rear leg.
3) Sit and Reach
Start by sitting on a yoga mat or on your bed, fully extend one knee and try to touch your toes with your arm. This exercise target your hamstring and you should feel a good stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each side.
4) Modified Child Pose
Start in a praying position. Sit you bum back and slowly reach your hand forward and across, this exercise targets the latissimus dorsi muscle, and you should feel a stretch on the side of your trunk. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each side.
In summary, you should always be sure to move in a slow and control manner. And you should feel comfortable when doing the stretches. The goal of stretching is to increase mobility and flexibility, increase circulation, decrease pain and decrease muscle tightness. If you have any spinal issues, consult your health care providers before commencing this stretching routine!
Gary Lai, Registered Kinesiologist