If you don’t spend an even amount of time standing and sitting during the day, don’t stretch every single day, or don’t get exercise on a regular basis, chances are you deal with minor aches and pains. Many people have stiffness or tightness in the body based on their lifestyle; people who sit at a computer all day often have tight hips and tightness in the chest, while people who stand all day may have pain in the feet and calves. Ignoring the pain will only make it worse over time, but getting in a few simple stretches each day can really make a huge difference in the long run.
Here are four simple stretches to help relieve aches and pains all over so that you can move and feel better!
1. Wall Chest Stretch
This stretch will help you open up your chest and shoulders that may get tight from sitting at a desk and typing most of the day. Stand against a wall and place your right arm up in a 90 degree angle. Pull your shoulder down away from the ear, and then push that arm into the wall as you turn your body away from your arm.
This will stretch through the chest and into that shoulder. Hold this position for about five to six breaths before switching sides.
2. Floor back and hip stretch
Grab ahold of something on the ground that has a little weight to it for stability (this can be a kettlebell, a dumbbell, or even the legs of a chair). Come down into a child’s pose position with your knees bent, your hips back by your feet, and your arms out in front of your with your chest toward the ground.
Grab ahold of the weight in front of you in order to further deepen the stretch through your lat muscles and the entire upper back. Having that extra resistance will increase the stretch you feel in the upper body, and being in the child’s pose position will help you stretch through your hips as well. Take six to eight full breaths in this position.
Created by Russian Kettlebell Challenge Master Brett Jones, this stretch will help you stretch through your t-spine, your shoulders, your hips and your quad in one swift movement.
Begin by lying down on your back. Take your right leg and bring it over your left in a bent position so that your right knee is on the ground while crossed over your left leg. Bend your left leg at the knee so that your left foot comes up close to your butt, and grab ahold of your left foot with your right hand.
Using your left hand, gently push down on the right knee to try to get it toward the ground, while still keeping both shoulders on the ground as well. This will help open the thoracic spine, the shoulders and chest, the hips, and will stretch the quad of your left leg. Take about six to eight breaths before switching the position of the feet and working this stretch on the opposite side.
4. Wall Calf Stretch
This stretch will help loosen up your feet, calves, and even your hamstrings. Stand facing a wall and place the toes of your right foot up on the wall with your heel on the ground (so that your foot is in a flexed position).
Your left foot should be flat and slightly back away from the wall for balance and support through the movement. Gently rock forward toward the wall, deepening the stretch you feel through the foot and calf (and in some cases, hamstrings as well). Rock back to your starting position and repeat this movement eight to ten times before switching sides.
By taking five to seven minutes a day to go through these four stretches, you’ll start to notice that you have less overall aches and pains and that you feel better and move better during many activities. Try them out and see how a few simple stretches can really make you feel better!
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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