Woman stretching at home

How simple stretching can help you stay active

Whether it’s been a hard day at the keyboard, a long drive or a marathon gardening session, gentle stretching can help you to stay active and maintain flexibility. Here’s why.

May 6, 2021
Woman stretching at home

You may think of stretching as something that athletes do, but gentle stretching is beneficial for everyone as it can improve flexibility, mobility, and posture.  

Stretching can help with:  

Flexibility

Flexibility is needed to keep your joints and tissues healthy, whether you are a serious athlete or someone whose exercise routine is more limited. If the tissues around a joint become inflexible, your muscles can become fatigued and tight, leaving you more prone to injury.  

Mobility

Stretching helps with a range of motions such as walking, bending and twisting – all necessary for everyday activities.  

Posture

If someone has a slouched posture (for example, from sitting for long periods at a desk), this can tighten and put stress on muscles and joints, as well as causing back or neck pain. Stretching can help to relax this tightness and improve posture.  

Stress

When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. Areas of your body where you tend to hold stress are your neck, shoulders, and upper back.  

Simple stretching exercises

Knees-to-chest

Lying flat on your back, bring one knee to your chest and hold it in position with your arms or hands. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back. Repeat with the other knee. If it feels comfortable, you can also do this stretch by bending both knees at the same time.  

Upper back stretch

Sit on the edge a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Interlock your fingers and reach forward, bending from your middle back. Stretch with your hands forward at shoulder level. You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades.  

Neck stretch

Relax your shoulders and gently move your left ear towards your left shoulder. Repeat with your right. Only stretch as far as feels comfortable.  

Shoulder stretch

Relaxing your shoulder blades back and down, reach one arm across your body and gently use your other arm to deepen the stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.  

Calf stretch

Place your hands on a wall for support, step back on one leg and gently push your heel towards the ground, feeling a nice stretch along the back of your calf. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat on your opposite leg.

If you intend to take any action or inaction based on this information, it is recommended that you obtain your own professional advice based on your specific circumstances.

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