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How to stretch for good health
Did you know that regular stretching exercises can help to strengthen your back, tone your body and prevent injury? Basic stretching exercises are also really easy to do, whether you're doing static stretching or flexibility exercises. You don’t need a lot of space or a lot of time to do a stretching program and your body will love the stretching workout. Here’s the beautyheaven guide to how you can create a simple stretching routine, complete with leg stretches, body stretches and back stretches, to find the best stretches for you.
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Warm up first
Avoid doing damage by warming your muscles up first with a little bit of light activity. You don’t have to schedule in extra activity, simply do your stretches after your normal daily activities – like when you get home from walking the dog or after your evening walk home from the train station – that way your muscles will already be warm, soft and pliable, and ready to stretch.
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, clasp your hands behind your back and gently pull your arms back until they are both straight. Hold for 30 seconds. This stretch will strengthen and tone most of the muscles in your arms and help with arm tone and definition.
Sit with one leg straight out in front, and tuck the other leg in so your knee is bent and your foot is flat against your inner thigh. Keeping your back as straight as possible, lean forward and reach your hands down the leg as far as you can. Hold for twenty seconds, rest and repeat, aiming to reach a little further down the leg each time you stretch. This type of back stretching is great for strengthening your upper back muscles.
Stand straight and tall on one foot, grab hold of the other foot with your non-dominant hand and hold it behind you so that the leg is bent. Pull the foot towards your bottom until you feel a stretch down the front of your leg. Hold for thirty seconds, repeat on the other leg. If you struggle with balance, you can gently rest your opposite hand against a wall to stabilize yourself. This stretch is great for working and strengthening the quad muscles, down the front of your legs.
Do you stretch regularly?