Molly McNamee | 4 Stretches You Should Do Everyday
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4 Stretches You Should Do Everyday

Stretching is essential, but it is often overlooked by most gym goers. Individuals who don’t workout stretch even less. Flexiblity training is vital to your health. In the short-term, stretching can help reduce soreness in your body and relieve mental stress. In the long-term, continuously working on your flexiblity will improve your blood flow, prevent injuries, keep your body in proper alignment, and improve your overall wellbeing.

I won’t take any more of your time talking about the benefits of stretching, because there are many. Instead, I want to share with you five stretches you should start doing everyday. It would be great if you could commit 10-15 minutes daily to a stretching routine, but I understand that is not realistic for most people. Doing the five stretches below for a couple minutes a day is a great way to ease into more flexibility training. If you decide you want to put more time into your daily stretches, you can try one of these videos.

Stretch #1: Standing Quad Stretch

A lot of men and women are “quad dominant,” meaning they use their quadricep muscles on most lower body movements. So if you workout, chances are your quads are tight. However, even if you don’t workout regularly, there is a strong chance you have super tight quads. Walking, sitting and standing all put some level of strain on the thighs. Having tight quads is almost always the reason for knee pain. Do a standing quad stretch everyday to prevent knee pain from creeping up. Make sure you hold onto something while you do this stretch. Also keep an eye on your form as you do a standing quad stretch. Focus on pulling your knee back, while at the same time tucking your hip forward. Those resisting forces will allow you to feel a really good stretch through the front of your thigh and hip flexor. Hold this stretch (and all stretches on this list) for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Stretch #2: Downward Dog or Flat Back

Downward Facing Dog is a very common yoga pose. I personally love it because it stretches out so many different muscles. This is a great stretch for your calves, hamstrings, lats, and shoulders. Read this article for tips on finding a comfortable and effective down dog stretch. If doing this stretch on the floor is uncomfortable to you, try modifying by putting your hands on a wall for a flat back stretch. This will feel very similar but allows you to remain standing.

Stretch #3: Calf Stretch

The calves are another commonly tight muscle in the body. This is due to shoes that don’t give feet enough support, overuse while driving, and simply walking around. Tight calves are another instigator of knee pain, so it is important to stretch them everyday. Doing a basic calf stretch with a step will help combat the tightness daily life creates.

Stretch #4: Cobra Pose

The cobra pose is a great stretch for you lower back and abs. This is another very common yoga pose. Begin by lying on your stomach. Then bring your hands next to your armpits and press through your hands to straighten your arms almost all the way. Make sure you press your shoulders down as you find your cobra pose. Many people tense up their shoulders in this position, but that creates more tension. So try to relax. Think about your posture, have a long neck and press your chest forward.