As a broad term, “exercise” encompasses resistance training, cardiovascular efforts, and flexibility work.
Those who exercise regularly often have no problem going to the gym to lift weights or run. However, many of these individuals will neglect flexibility training.
Whether stretching is too boring or just seems useless to you, it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Below, I will provide 12 stretches for your daily routine, regardless of your age or activity level.*
*If you experience any pain while performing these stretches, or have specific questions: consult your doctor.
1. Supine Piriformis Stretch
Lying on your back, cross your right leg over your left. The outside of your right ankle should be on top of your left thigh.
From here, wrap your hands around your left thigh, so that you are grasping your hamstring.
Pull your left knee towards your chest, bringing your right leg along for the ride. You should feel a significant stretch in your right buttocks.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each side.
2. Supine Hamstring Stretch
With your back flat on the ground, bend both knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Next, raise your right leg in the air as high as you can, keeping your knee straight.
When you’ve reached your furthest point of stretch, hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 4 times on each side.
3. Low Back/Glute Stretch
While on your back, straighten out both legs and rest them on the floor.
Slowly, bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest, using your hands to help.
Pull with your hands until you feel a mild stretch in your low back and right glute. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on both sides.
4. Seated Lateral Neck Bend Stretch
With your back straight and head facing forward, place your right hand on the top left portion of your head, directly above your left ear.
Next, gently pull your right ear down toward your right shoulder. Try not to move your left shoulder at all, as this will lead to a worse stretch.
You should feel a gentle stretching sensation on the left side of your neck.
Because this stretch can be slightly more intense, I recommend that you hold for only 10 seconds, but repeat 12 times on each side. This will also be a recommendation for other stretches on this list.
5. Trunk Rotation Stretch
While seated, cross your arms over your chest.
Keep your back straight as you turn to the right side. You should feel a gentle stretch in your sides and, possibly, in your back.
Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 12 times in both directions.
6. Neck Rotation Stretch
In a seated position with excellent posture, turn your head slightly to the right. You should feel a stretch on the right side of your neck.
Maintain this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 12 times on both sides.
7. Spinal Extension Stretch
On a firm chair, place your right hand on your right thigh and your left hand on your left thigh. Keeping your back straight, gently bend backward.
Of all of the stretches on this list, you’ll want to be most cautious with this one. Make sure you do not feel any pain.
Once you’ve reached your maximum range, hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 12 times.
8. Trunk Flexion Stretch
Slide forward slightly in your chair in order to perform this stretch.
Gently reach your arms down toward the ground, between your legs. Allow your back to bend forward so that you can get your hands as close as possible to the floor.
As soon as you feel a mild stretch in your low and middle back, hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times.
9. Standing Lat/Side Flexion Stretch
Stand with good posture and reach your right arm straight over your head. Next, bend toward your left side and reach your right hand as far as possible.
Remain in this stretched position for 10 seconds and repeat 12 times on each side.
10. Standing Back Scratch Stretch
Standing with good posture, reach your right arm over your head and down your back. At the same time, reach your left arm up your back so that your hands meet in the middle.
Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 12 times on each side.
11. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
While standing and supporting yourself on a firm surface with your right hand, bend your left knee. Grasp your left ankle with your left hand and pull upward.
You should feel a deep stretch in the front of your left thigh. Maintain this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each side.
12. Standing Calf Stretch
Standing a few feet away from a wall, place both hands on the wall in front of you. Move your left leg behind you, keeping your foot flat.
Next, lean forward until you feel a deep stretch in the sole of your left foot and your calf.
Continue to hold this position for 30 seconds, repeating 4 times on each side
With these 12 stretches, you will gain flexibility throughout your entire body. All it takes is a few minutes a day of dedicated stretching, and, before you know it, you’ll be limber and pain-free. Not everyone likes to stretch, but everyone should make sure they spend some time doing so each day.