An image showing the benefits of a daily stretching routine

Daily Stretching – A general stretching routine

Want to move more but don’t know where to start? Stretching is a great way to start getting your to body moving in a gentle capacity. But it can and should be used in conjunction with any exercise program. Here is a daily stretching routine that covers the major muscles groups and joints of your body and is a great starting point!

 

But first, some tips on stretching:

  • Try and do a little warm up before you start – even a 5-minute brisk walk or a minute of marching on the spot/high knee jumping to get the blood moving and your muscles warm. Or you can do this after some other form of exercise.
  • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds – if something feels really tight and uncomfortable try holding for 10-15 seconds, coming out of the stretch and then repeating for another 10-15 seconds
  • Whilst it would be fantastic if you could do these stretches every day, sometimes that’s not realistic. If you’re struggling for time, try and perform the whole routine at least a few times a week and then on the off days, focus on a specific body part (e.g. Monday full routine, Tuesday lower body, Wednesday full routine, Thursday upper body etc.)
  • Stretching should NEVER be painful. Whilst it can sometimes be a little uncomfortable, if you are experiencing any pain, try reducing the intensity of the stretch or coming out of it completely if required.

Now here’s your daily stretching routine:

 

Neck Stretches

 

Keep these extra gentle. You can use your hand on top of your head for a little extra pressure if needed but don’t pull too hard.

  • Flexion – looking down towards your chest
  • Extension – looking up towards the ceiling
  • Side Bend – take one ear down towards your shoulder – ensuring you keep the opposite shoulder down (try doing this seated and holding on to the bottom of the chair) Repeat to the other side
  • Rotation – looking over your shoulder (same as above, keep the opposite shoulder drawn back and down) then repeat to the other side
  • Levator Scapula – as above, hold the bottom on your chair to make sure your shoulder stays down, rotate your head 45 deg to the opposite shoulder and then look down towards your underarm. Repeat other side.

 

Chest Stretch

 

  • Foam Roller (If available this is the best option) – lay longways on a foam roller/towel with your arms stretched out to the side like a T – check out our blog about it here for more information.
  • Door Way – stand in a door frame with your forearms and elbows out at 90 degrees to your torso. Keep your ribcage down and your torso straight as your gently push your chest through the door.
  • Wall – have one forearm at 90 deg against a wall and slowly turn your body away from your arm & then repeat to the other side

 

Quad Stretch

 

  • Standing tall bring your left foot to your bum holding on to your ankle. Aiming to keep your knees together, hips straight and your upper body upright.
  • Repeat opposite side

 

Hip Flexor Stretch

 

  • Kneeling on your left knee with the right knee in front of you at a 90 degree.
  • Bringing your torso up nice and tall, slowly tuck your pelvis/sit bones under.
  • If you want to increase the stretch, lift your left arm into the air and reach tall whilst keeping the pelvis tucked under.
  • You should feel this stretch in the front on your left hip
  • Repeat opposite side
  • See our blog on the Hip Flexors for more information

 

Spinal Rotation / Book openers

 

  • Laying on your left side, head on a pillow/cushion with your knees bent
  • Arms straight out in front of you, slowly lift your right arm up towards the ceiling and all the way over towards the room behind you.
  • Follow the right arm with your eyes.
  • To intensify this stretch, straighten your bottom leg and bring your top knee to the floor before starting the rotation.
  • Repeat opposite side

 

Glute/Piriformis Stretch

 

  • Laying on your back with knees bent, put your left ankle on top of your right knee and then reach through your legs and grab hold behind your right knee. Relax shoulders and head on the ground – you should feel this in your left hip/glute. Repeat opposite side.
  • Laying on your back with legs long on the ground, bring one knee into your chest and then draw it towards your opposite shoulders whilst keeping your back relaxed and flat on the ground. Repeat opposite side.

 

Hamstring Stretch

 

  • Standing – take your left heel to the floor in front of you, keeping your left knee straight, bend through your right knee and hinge at the hips. Repeat opposite side.
  • Seated – bring your right foot into your groin, left leg out in front of you with the knee straight. Start by sitting up tall and then increase the stretch by hinging at the hips over your left leg aiming to keep the back straight. Repeat opposite side.

 

Calf Stretch

 

  • Step – using a single step, put the ball of your left foot on the edge of the step and slowly lower your heel down off the edge keeping your knee straight. Repeat this opposite side & then repeat it left and right with a slight bend in the knee.
  • No Step – facing a wall with hands flat on the wall in front of your, take a big step back with your left leg keeping your toes facing forward and knee straight. Bend the front knee and use force into the wall to push the heel into the ground behind you. Repeat opposite side and again with a bent knee.

 

So there you have it a complete daily stretching routine, not so hard?!

For more useful stretches or advice, make an appointment online today with one of our friendly Osteopaths or Myotherapists.