Stretch And Relaxation

Benefits of Stretching

  • Increases flexibility
  • Reduces muscle soreness by flushing out lactic acid
  • Increases range of motion in the joints

Guidelines

  • Warm up muscles prior to stretching
  • Never stretch beyond what is comfortable for you
  • Use slow, controlled movements
  • Hold stretches for 20–30 seconds
  • Breathe throughout the stretch
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Turn the lights low and play relaxing music
  • Close your eyes and relax

Warm up

  • Perform at least 5 minutes of low-impact movement
  • Ex. Marching in place, thermal walk, relaxed bike ride

Stretches (all take place lying on back)

  • Toe Stretch
    • Wiggle each toe several times
  • Wrist and Finger Stretch
    • Raise right arm to ceiling
    • Gently rotate wrist, clockwise and counter-clockwise
    • With arm still help upward, make the “OK” sign with each fingers several times
    • Repeat with left arm
  • Neck Stretch
    • Roll head to left side (left ear to mat)
    • Bring back to center
    • Gently move chin to chest, pushing back of neck to the floor
    • Roll head to right side (right ear to mat)
  • Ankle Stretch
    • Bring right leg up to 90 degree angle
    • Gently rotate ankle, clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Shoulder Stretch
    • Bring one arm straight across chest
    • Use opposite hand to pull arm closer to chest
    • Release and repeat with opposite arm
  • Single Hamstring Stretch
    • Bend right knee, placing right foot flat on floor
    • Place yoga strap under arch of left foot, holding one end in each hand
    • Extend left leg and slowly lift it toward ceiling
    • Pull extended leg
    • Return left leg to starting position
  • Inner thigh stretch
    • Start with knees bent and feet flat on floor
    • Place soles of feet together, allowing knees to fall open to floor
  • Glute stretch
    • Start with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
    • Place yoga strap behind left thigh
    • Place your right ankle on your left knee
    • Gently pull strap toward chest while lifting left foot off floor
    • Release and repeat on other leg
  • Diagonal Hip Stretch
    • Place yoga strap under arch of left foot, holding ends in left hand
    • Extend leg toward ceiling
    • Slowly allow left leg out to fall toward floor on left side
    • Return to starting position
    • Slowly allow left leg to fall across your body to the right
    • Avoid allowing your left hip to roll over your right hip
    • Release and repeat on other leg
  • Low Back Stretch
    • Bring right knee in toward chest
    • Holding under the knee, lace fingers
    • Release and repeat with other knee
    • Variation
      • Bring both knees in toward chest together
  • Back Massage
    • Bring both knees in to chest together
    • Hold behind knees, lace fingers
    • Gently rock from side to side, massaging back
  • Full Body Stretch
    • Fully extend arms behind head and reach fingertips to wall behind you
    • Fully extend legs and stretch to opposite wall

 

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