Flexible movements

Last month we spoke about the importance of stretching. Stretching makes your body feel good and can make you more flexible. So here are some exercises you can try before or after your next workout or even if you’ve been sitting too long at your desk. It’s important when stretching to have a support wall nearby if unsure, be well hydrated and don’t forget to breathe through each stretch.

Pre and/or post workout stretches:

Calf stretch
From a standing position, place your feet in a lunge position and make sure your back heel is touching the ground. Lean slightly forward and make sure your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes. Repeat this with the other leg, holding each stretch for 15 seconds.

Quad Stretch
While standing in a natural position, back straight, lift your right foot up and behind using your right hand to bring your foot close to your glute either to touch or stop where comfortable. Hold this for 15 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring stretch
From a natural standing position bend one leg slightly (brace on this leg) and extend the opposite leg until your heel is on the ground, making sure not to bend this leg and drive your hips back into the stretch. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Low Back Stretch
Slowly brace into a squatting position with your hands clasped behind your thighs. Stretching up (a bit like a cat), round your back, making sure your head is down towards the ground and draw your should blades away from one another for a full back stretch. Don’t forget to breath! Once you’ve held this stretch for 15 seconds, release your hands and slowly bring yourself to a standing position.

Chest stretch
Take your hands (clasped) behind your lower back, draw backwards away from your body, open up through your chest. If you can’t quite get your hands to meet, place your hands at the base of your lower back and press slightly squeezing your elbows towards each other. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.

Desk stretches:

Reach for the stars
Sit toward the back of your chair and raise your hands up toward the sky. Count to 10 slowly breathing in and out.

Arm Circles
Raise your arms straight out to your sides and press your shoulder blades together. Extend arms with palms down, thumbs facing forward, and do 20 forward circles with your arms. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Seated glute stretches
Sit on a chair and bring one ankle up onto the knee of your other leg. Lean forward, keeping your back straight. Hold for 15 seconds and switch legs.

Back stretch
Sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, twist your upper body so your shoulders rotate to one side. Go only as far as you can comfortably. You will feel the pull from your lower back up to the middle of your back. Hold for 20 seconds or six breaths and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

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