This gentle 5 minute stretching routine showed up in my Facebook feed recently.
I'm excited to share it because it's made up of stretches I first discovered years ago in yoga that I continue to do regularly on my own and with my private yoga clients.
Staying flexible is critical to keep aches and pains at bay as you get older.
When you lose flexibility, you lose range of motion. That doesn't just translate into achy joints and muscles; it slowly makes you lose the ability to do the daily movements you take for granted.
In addition to improving flexibility and range of motion, stretching is a great way to relieve stress.
This routine consists of five simple stretches. Four stretches for your legs done lying on your back and one stretch for your chest and shoulders done standing up.
If do these in the morning, be sure to warm up first. Five to ten minutes should do the trick.
If you are a bit older and or less flexible than the instructor featured in the video, I have a couple of suggestions that might help you get the most from this gentle 5 minute workout:
Use a yoga strap or bathrobe belt, instead of a towel. Give yourself as much as strap as you need to keep your upper body relaxed while you are stretching your legs.
You are looking for a dull achey feeling. Don't get too forceful with yourself.
Chances are you would be able to achieve the form being demonstrated and that's okay because you are still getting the benefit.
The key to safe stretching in these poses is to never push, and to hold the poses for a ideally two to three minutes to give enough time for the tough connective tissue in the hamstrings to begin to open up.
You don't really need the towel/strap for the last leg stretch, which is called reclining pigeon pose in yoga.
Just hold on to your thigh instead. It may be easier and provide more stability in the pose.
Breathe slowly and steadily through your nose.
On your inhale think about creating space within the body part being stretched.
On your exhale, think about relaxing and releasing those muscles allowing them to soften and lengthen. Enjoy!
Source: PopSugar Fitness
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Gentle 5 Minute Stretch Routine to Improve Flexibility:
- Hamstring Stretch Left Leg
- Inner Thigh Stretch Left Leg
- Outer Hip/IT Band Stretch Left Leg
- Reclining Pigeon Stretch Left Leg
- Hamstring Stretch Right Leg
- Inner Thigh Stretch Right Leg
- Outer Hip/IT Band Stretch Right Leg
- Reclining Pigeon Stretch Right Leg
- Standing Chest/Shoulder Stretch
More ways to help you reduce stress and improve flexibility:
- Easy Yoga Poses to Counter the Effects of Too Much Sitting
- Relieve Stress with a Simple Seated Yoga Twist
- My 5 Favorite Yoga DVDs for Beginners Over 40
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