This Sunday I took a nice jog around the Loantaka Brook Park trail. Before I started my run I made sure my legs were ready. I did these simple stretches which I do before all my runs. They help me loosen up the muscles and avoid injury and pain.
Save yourself a little pain with these 5 stretches you can spread throughout the day. As a bonus, you’ll improve your energy levels, readiness for sleep, and your workout results –well worth the 4 or 5 minutes they’ll take up in your schedule.
1. A forward bend with a twist.
Place the balls of your feet up on the mat so that your heels are on the floor and you’re still standing almost upright. From this position, hinge forward at the hips to bring your body into a forward bend.
Keep your hips stacked over your heels throughout this forward bend. To avoid tightness, the body will try to push your hips back. To maintain the calf stretch, only fold as far forward as you can go while keeping your hips above your heels.
2. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Push against the wall really hard, like you’re trying to push it over. Now try to push your kneeling knee into the floor—like you’re pushing towards the center of the Earth. This turns on your glutes and abs to release the extension of the hip.
Hold this pressure on the wall and floor for a few seconds. Switch sides, and repeat.
3. The chair trifecta stretch
If you’re an office worker, your chair is hurting more than just your hips, of course. It’s also increasing your risk of death: In a recent study, workers who sat 9 or more hours per day had an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
Stand facing your chair and place one foot on the chair with knee bent 90 degrees. Your other foot should be behind you with your knee straight and your foot slightly pigeon-toed. Draw your abs in to stabilize your spine. In this position, lean forward until you feel a stretch in your groin—this will help loosen your hip flexor. While maintaining this stretch, you’ll perform three movements.
First, lift your arms straight overhead, palms facing each other, as your pelvis comes forward. Next, bring your arms straight out in front of your chest. Rotate your arms, chest, and head away from your standing leg. Finally, rest the arm on your bent-knee side on your bent leg. Lift your arm on the side of your standing leg straight up next to your ear. With your arm raised, lean forward slightly while you simultaneously reach your hand over your head, stretching your side body. When you’ve finished, switch legs and repeat all movements.
4. Putting your best stretch forward
Start in a crab walk position, with your knees bent 90 degrees, your arms straight down below your shoulders, and your stomach facing the ceiling. In this position, lift your hips up and squeeze your shoulder blades together so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to knees, perpendicular to the floor.
From this position, shift your weight forward so your knees go towards and past your toes, and your heels almost touch your butt. You’ll feel a stretch all over the front of your body.
5. A hip-groin stretch
Reach your arms around your left thigh to grab your left shin. Pull your left shin towards your chest, rolling slightly onto your back. In this position, you should feel a stretch in your outer right hip and glute. Hold for a few seconds, release, and switch sides.