5 Simple Stretches to Start Your Day

            An important part of any exercise routine is stretching, but did you know you should be stretching even if you do not plan on hitting the gym? According to The American College of Sports Medicine, stretching has many benefits that can help anyone, including improved posture, increased blood flow, and greater amounts of energy. Who wouldn’t want to stretch away that sluggish feeling? “The experts at the American Council on Exercise suggest that stretching in the morning helps support your energy throughout the entire day [because] stretching prevents lethargy and feelings of tiredness.”[1] Check out these simple stretches to kick start your day (but be sure to check with your physician before starting any new exercise routine):

  1. Calf Stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart by a wall or chair. Then, while supporting yourself on the wall or back of the chair with your hands, lean forward while keeping your heels on the ground to gently stretch your calf muscles.

  2. Shoulder Stretch: Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your right arm straight out to the side. Then, keeping your arm straight, bring it across your body and use your left arm to pull your right arm as close to your chest as possible. Repeat on the other side.

  3. Tricep Stretch: Stand shoulder-width apart and raise your right arm up like you are waiting to be called on in class. Bend your right elbow and reach your hand down like you are going to touch your left shoulder behind your head. Using your left hand, pull back gently on your right elbow to stretch your tricep. Repeat on the other side.

  4. Butterfly Stretch: Begin in a seated position and bring your feet in front of you so that the soles of your feet are touching. Bring your feet as close to your body as you can and, using your elbows, gently push down on your knees to bring them closer to the floor. This is a great hip opener, especially if you are going to work at a desk all day. If needed, you can sit on a folded blanket.

  5. Standing Side Stretch: Begin by standing up with your arms straight up over your head. Hold your right hand with your left and, keeping your arms straight, gently lean to the left, using your left hand to help increase the stretch by pulling on your right. Return to the middle and repeat on the other side.

[1] Vera, Kathryn. “What Are the Benefits of Stretching in the Morning?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/430886-what-are-the-benefits-of-stretching-in-the-morning/.

Health, LifeRichard Martin