Elastic objects have a tendency to “stretch”. Hold a rubber band with both of your hands and pull it outward. Now this is what you call a “stretch”.
Human body is not elastic, and cannot be extensively stretched like a rubber band. But, some extent of flexibility is found in our muscles and tendons.
In order to remain fit and flexible, stretching exercises dominate the workout sessions. In a specific workout, it is necessary for the body to undergo stretching, at least for 5 minutes.
• It tones your muscles.
• These exercises also increase the range of body movement.
• The flexibility and elasticity capacity of the body increases.
• By regular stretching, a uniform blood flow is maintained.
• There is a decreased risk of injuries.
• The tight and stiff muscles can be loosen-out by stretching. Stiff muscles lead to cramping. To avoid such a situation, stretch for a few minutes to ease out the tension.
Note that stretching has its effects only when the stretch is held for a few seconds with proper repetitions. Kindly do not exhaust yourselves.
STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR FLEXIBILITY
1. Hamstring Stretch:
– Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward. The toes should point upwards.
– Split your legs in such a way that they make a ‘V’ shape.
– The back should be straight and upright.
– Now bend a little slowly and try touching your left leg toe with both the hands.
– Keep the right leg steady at its place. Do not lift or bend it.
– Are you able to touch your toes? Do not jerk your body. Do little by little according to your capacity.
– If you are able to touch your toes, hold for a few seconds and then release.
– Come back to the original position.
– Repeat this with the right leg.
2. Butterfly groin stretch:
– Sit on the floor.
– Now fold your legs in such a way that the base of your feet touches each other. Feel that as if you are doing a “Namaste” with your feet.
– Bring your joint feet closer towards your body. You can pull them with your hands.
– With your bend elbows resting at the thighs, push downwards to give thighs a little stretch.
– Do this slowly and constantly. Do not jerk. This is how a butterfly flutters. Do you get the feeling?
LEG STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR BEGINNERS
1. Quad Stretch:
– Stand straight with the face held high and forward.
– Bend your left leg backward, so that your heel touches your hips.
– You can support your leg with the hand. Hold the ankle close to the hips.
– Hold the position for a few seconds till you feel a stretch.
– Repeat this with your right leg.
2. Supine Leg Stretch:
– Lie on the floor, with your back touching the floor. The legs should not be split or any distance apart.
– Slowly raise your right leg straight up towards the ceiling. It should make 90 degree angle with the lying left leg.
– You can support the right leg with your hand or a band held by you.
– Slowly lower it down.
– Repeat with the left leg.
YOGA STRETCHING EXERCISES
1. Modified Cobra or Bhujang-asana:
– Lie flat on the ground with your tummy touching the floor.
– Your toes should point downward and backward.
– Legs should lie close to each other, straight.
– Lay your palms alongside your head, i.e., parallel to your head. Palms should touch the floor.
– Now slowly push your torso upwards with the increasing pressure on hands. Feel as if you are pushing the ground downward.
– Turn your head upward and look up at the ceiling.
– Your back should make a curve, and lower body should rest as it is.
– Do you now get it why it is named as modified cobra?
2. Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
– Stand straight on the floor, with your back upright and vertical position.
– It is better if you do a little warm up before this exercise.
– Now bend your right knee upward, bring it closer and closer to your upper body. No, this is not the yoga exercise we are supposed to do. From this position you have to hold the feet with your right hand and extend it straight, sideward.
– Till then you can rest your left hand at your waist.
– Hold the stretch for a few seconds, and then release.
– Repeat it with the left leg.
BEST STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR FLEXIBILITY
1. Shoulder stretch:
– This one is a pretty common exercise we used to do at school. This involves your hands.
– Stand straight and look forward. You can set your feet at your comfortable distance.
– Now raise the left arm and hold its elbow region with your right hand. Give it a push, or shall I say a pull towards the chest. The left arm is getting a push while extended in the air only. Are you able to do it?
– If yes, then hold the position for a few seconds. Then, release.
– Now repeat the same with your right arm.
– This is one of the easiest and best stretching exercise, which relieves the shoulders and arms of the stress. One does not need require to keep in mind any limitations while doing this.
2. Back Stretch:
– Lay down on the floor, with your back touching the floor.
– You can lock your hands behind your back.
– Now slowly slide your hands down and down towards your thigh region.
– While doing this, you can pull your legs close towards your body.
– Now your hands have come under the knee and your legs are close to your upper body. The thighs touch your torso.
– Remember, you do not have to raise your torso or curve your back. Keep lying down.
– Hold the position for a few seconds. Then, release.
LEG STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR FLEXIBILITY
1. Glute Exercise:
– Bend at your knees to the floor, with the help of your palms. The way our fathers used to behave like a “horse” at our childhood days. Now you understand how you are supposed to bend down?
– Now raise your right leg straight into the air, backward. Imagine as if you have to kick a football backward with your foot. Do not project your leg immediately. Take your own time to slowly raise it.
– While doing this, keep your rest of the body at constant position. Keep looking forward.
– Hold the raised leg up to a few seconds, and then lower it back down.
– Repeat the same with your left leg.
2. Inner Thigh Stretch:
– Stand with your feet wide apart. I bet you will definitely enjoy this stretch.
– Now bend a little at your knees. This will land you in a “sumo-like” position.
– Rest your hands at your thighs.
– You can slowly jerk yourself up and down to give it a squat touch.