Stretching is absolutely vital for maintaining a healthy body. It improves flexibility, mobility, and prevents muscle injuries. Additionally, it helps our bodies release pent-up tension and stress that has been stored in our tissues.
Unfortunately, with busy schedules or traveling, many find it difficult to incorporate stretches into their daily routine. But look no further folks! I have compiled a list of five simple standing stretches that you can do anywhere (home, work, in your hotel room), any time… no muss, no fuss!
First, we have my favorite, neck stretches! If you are anything like me, you store a ton of tension in your neck and upper body. Sound familiar? Well, you are in luck! Implementing a daily neck stretching routine has done wonders for my neck pain and released years and years of tension and strain.
Here’s how you can incorporate this simple neck stretch into your day-to-day. First, stand or sit in a relaxed position, ensuring that your back is straight, interlace your fingers at the back of your skull. Gently pull your hands down, tucking your chin to your chest to create a stretch in your neck. Hold the position for 15 seconds and then slowly move your neck from side to side. If one side or angle feels more tight than another, feel free to stay there a bit longer to release any extra tension. Repeat 3-5 times.
Shoulder and Arm Stretch:
This stretch is great to ease stress and tension in your arms and shoulder muscles. Stand in a relaxed position, and lift one arm over your head, bend your elbow, and let your hand fall behind your head (the palm of your hand should be facing towards your body). Now using your other arm, reach over your head and down your back, gently placing that hand on the elbow of the opposite arm. Carefully push your elbow downwards. Simply placing your hand on your elbow may be enough pressure to feel a good stretch in this position. As always, listen to your body and apply as little or as much pressure as needed to feel a comfortable stretch. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Lunge stretches are effective for stretching out your hip flexors and thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, take a big step forward with your right foot, and lower your body down into a lunge. Ensure your front knee is directly above your ankle and your back leg is straight. Hold the position for 15 seconds to 1 minute and then switch to the left leg. Repeat once or as needed.
Place hands and feet on the floor, assuming a stance between downward-facing dog and a push-up-like stance. Ensure that your back is straight and your neck is in line with your spine to avoid any neck strain. Keeping your core engaged, pedal your feet up and down. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs, mainly in the calf muscles. Try this stretch for 1-2 minutes.
Quad stretches target the quadriceps in your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift one leg behind you. Wrap your hand around your ankle to stabilize the stretch. Gently pull your heel towards your butt, feeling the stretch in your quad. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch legs to repeat on the opposite side.
The Simplicity of Standing Stretches
What did I tell you? No muss no fuss! These standing stretches are simple and can be done anywhere at any time. They help ensure that our muscles are healthy, flexible, and stress-free. So, whether you’re in the office, traveling, or even watching your favorite TV show, try adding these stretches into your daily routine and I promise your body will thank you. After all, our body’s do so much for us every day, what’s 2-3 minutes (or less) of our day spent sending some TLC its way?