It’s so easy to forget to stretch!  As part of my START SOMEWHERE RESET, I am committing today to a brief routine of wake-up stretches.  Won’t you join me?  Dynamic stretching does many good things for our bodies, including:

  • Increased blood flow (more oxygen to the brain!)
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased aches and pains
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Boost in energy
  • Increased freedom of mobility

More good news!  It requires no special gear or clothing!  It can be done (almost) anywhere.  Here’s my START SOMEWHERE plan to increase flexibility with these three easy stretches:

Elephant swings for whole body warm-up:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Clasp your arms together while keeping your arms straight.
  3. Swing your arms upward together to the right side and let your feet turn slightly in that same direction.
  4. Swing your arms back to the starting position all the way over to the left side and let your feet turn slightly in that direction.

Wrap around stretch for the neck and shoulders:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and reach right arm behind your back, palm facing away from you.
  2. Clasp hands and pull left elbow back as you draw your shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold as you circle head slowly.
  4. Do eight reps.

Plié reach for inner and outer thighs, arms, shoulders, and back:  

  1. Stand with feet wide, toes turned out, and raise arms overhead.
  2. Squat deep and lower arms in front of you, elbows touching knees and palms facing forward.
  3. Pull right shoulder back as you raise right arm, then twist in opposite direction, raising left arm.  Lift up to starting position.  Work up to eight reps. 

The above stretches are “dynamic stretches” which means that they increase flexibility through movement rather than just holding the position.  Our bodies are designed to move.  Numerous studies have shown that dynamic stretching not only improves flexibility but also increases range of motion.  This type of stretching is gaining favor among physical therapists, coaches, trainers and athletes. Dynamic stretching is deliberate, controlled and smooth as opposed to the old fashioned “ballistic stretching” that we did in gym class such as bouncing toe touches.   Those are commonly viewed to have more risk than benefit.

Let’s START SOMEWHERE together maintaining and enhancing flexibility.  Wake-up stretches are a great way to start the day!  Thanks for stopping by! 

References:

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/6-active-stretches-you-should-be-doing

http://www.stretching-exercises-guide.com/hip-stretches.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oScVpMXO5g

http://soar.wichita.edu/bitstream/handle/10057/641/grasp0622.pdf?sequence=1

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/types-of-stretches

Wake-Up Stretches

Wake-Up Stretches