4 Simple Stretches to Improve Flexibility

Last week, Dr. Haley told us one of the best things we can do daily is stretch. Flexibility is an important part of overall health and fitness, and incorporating stretching into your daily routine can improve range of motion, decrease pain and help prevent injury.

As Dr. Haley pointed out, stretching doesn’t have to take much time, and this five-minute routine is perfect for doing while watching one of your favorite shows, waiting for dinner to come out of the oven or even on your lunch break.

Runner’s Stretch

This stretch loosens up your hamstrings, which are often the cause of lower back pain. You’ll work your calves, lower back and hip flexors with this stretch too, which is great if you sit for extended periods of time at work.

Start off standing with your feet about hips-width apart, then step back with your right leg. Gently place both hands on the floor on either side of your left foot, keeping your arms about shoulder-width apart.

Next, slowly lower your hips until you feel the stretch. Try to hold this position for 30 seconds, then keep your hands on the floor while you straighten your front leg. Keep this position for 30 seconds, and don’t worry if your leg isn’t totally straight. Repeat on the other side for a full runner’s stretch.

Full Body Fold

If you work at an office and spend all day at a desk, this stretch is perfect for you! It’ll open your chest and shoulders while stretching your hamstrings and legs.

Stand, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Stretch your hands behind your glutei and lock your fingers together if you can. While keeping your back flat, gently bend at the waist and shift your weight to your heels until you feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Bend forward, pull your arms up above your head and hold the position for 30 seconds.

Seated Spinal Twist

Work your glutes, lower back and erector spine with this mobility-increasing stretch.

Sit on the ground with your legs crossed and your right leg on top. Move your right leg further over the left leg and place your right foot on the floor near your left knee so the right knee points upward. Slowly rotate your shoulders toward the right and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Chest Stretch

Plagued by poor posture? Try this stretch daily to open your chest, reduce tightness and improve both your posture and breathing.

Center yourself in a doorway and place your forearms on the doorframe. Slowly lean forward until you feel a good stretch through your shoulders and the front of your chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

Going through this routine each day can increase range of motion and flexibility. Try incorporating these stretches to boost flexibility and stave off back pain!

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