Relax and be healthy

Stretch It Out!

stretch

***NOTE FROM ENO:  Next week, we will begin a series of posts in honor of National Relaxation Day on August 15. This post is a kick-off to this upcoming series.***

by Anna Fletcher

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Do you grumpily slap the snooze button and roll over for a few more minutes of shut-eye? Or do you pop up out of bed, hands on your hips, ready to take on the day? Whatever you do, you can always add stretching to your morning routine to wake up your body, relieve last night’s stiffness, and feel energized for your day.

For those of you who prefer to stay in bed until the absolute last second, there are some stretches you can do without even getting out of bed!

Upward Stretch

  • Sit up on your bed, cross-legged.
  • Lace your fingers together and extend your arms up in the air, raising your hands above your head with your palms facing upward.
  • Elongate your spine and feel the stretch in your arms, ribcage, and belly. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • With your arms still in the air, lean to the left, feeling the stretch on your right side. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Lean to the right and feel the stretch on your left side. Hold for 10 seconds.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the bed and extend both legs straight out in front of you, keeping them together.
  • Bend your torso forward over your thighs, rounding your back and keeping your legs straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Reclining Twist

  • Lie flat on your back, drawing both knees in toward your chest. Give them a squeeze.
  • Release your legs and extend them straight up into the air. Take a deep breath in.
  • On your exhale breath, extend your left arm to the side. Drop your legs to the right and reach for your thigh, ankle, or foot. Look towards your left hand. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Come back to center and do the reverse – drop your legs to the left while looking to the right. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Come back to center and release back into lying position.

Lying Side Quad Stretch

  • Lie on your left side. Bend your left elbow and prop your head up with your left hand.
  • Bend your right knee, grasp your foot with your right hand, and pull your heel into your backside. If you find yourself a bit unbalanced, bend your bottom knee too.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Slightly press your hips forward to maximize the stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Release the stretch, roll onto your right side, and stretch your left quad.

Once you do finally pry yourself out of your bed, these next stretches are great. You can also do them anywhere, whether you’ve just crawled out of your tent, un-crumpled yourself out of your car after a long drive, or rolled out of your hammock after a good reading session.

Behind-the-Back Stretch

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and let your arms fall to your sides.
  • Reach both hands behind you and grab your left wrist with your right hand. Gently straighten your left arm with your right hand, pulling it slightly away from you.
  • Slowly lower your right ear toward your right shoulder to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.

Tipover Tuck

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and clasp your hands behind your back.
  • Keeping your legs straight, bend forward at your hips, tuck in your chin, and bring your hands over your head.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly roll up to standing position and then repeat.

Inner Thigh Stretch

  • Stand with your feet wider than your hips, back straight, toes turned out, and arms at your sides.
  • Slowly bend your knees over your feet (but not past your toes!), keeping your back straight. Support your hands on your thighs.
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds.

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