Wish you were as flexible as a cat? Try these 10 stretching exercises that’ll make you as flexible as a cat.
Flexibility has a more impact on our everyday life and well-being than we realize.
Simple daily activities like getting off the floor and touching your toes require flexibility.
Having a flexible body also allows for better blood circulation. This alone can help prevent serious health conditions and lower your health risk.
Daily stretching is an easy and simple way to keep your muscles flexible, healthy, and strong. What’s more, it helps improve your range of motion in the joints by adding flexibility.
Without proper stretching practice, the muscles shorten and become tight, says Harvard Health.
It further alerts ‘when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.’
Luckily, you don’t need a lengthy stretch routine to improve your flexibility. All you need is simple stretches below a few times a week for a few weeks.
You’ll be amazed at how flexible and bendy you can become in less than a month.
Perform these in sequence for 10 minutes at a time.
If you feel any pain or discomfort while stretching, stop and seek professional help. To work the correct muscles, it’s essential you perform them with good form.
10 Best Stretching Exercises to Make You As Flexible as a Cat
Do these stretches regularly after your workout or before bed at least a couple of times a week for 4 weeks. You’ll be amazed how flexible you get in a matter of weeks.
1. Cat-cow stretch
Cat-cow is a great stretching exercise that helps you warm up your spine before any exercise routine. It stretches your neck, back, and shoulders.
It also helps reduce stiffness in those areas. It’s a comfortable stretch for older adults as it does not place heavy pressure on the back.
- Get on all fours on a yoga mat. Adjust your hands and knees so they are right under your shoulders and hips.
- Exhale as you arch your back. Draw your belly button into the spine and drop your stomach.
- Hold the position for 1-2 seconds
- Slowly coming into the cow by dropping your belly to the floor. Bring your chest and head up towards the ceiling.
- Repeat 10 times.
2. Back extension stretch
The floor-based back extension is a simple stretch that works your torso, particularly the back. If you sit all day, this back extension stretch helps you undue strain on your lower back, glutes, and hips.
- Lie on a mat on your stomach with your elbows on your sides. Straighten your legs behind
- Keeping your hips on the mat, come up on your elbows and lift up your lats (upper back).
- Keep your neck neutral and hold this half push-up position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
3. Bridge stretch
The bridge stretch is a glute-focused stretching exercise that also engages your torso, thighs, and hips. It’s a very effective stretch for your lower body and anyone can do this to before a strength training routine to warm up the whole body.
This is a great bodyweight exercise especially for seniors looking to improve mobility and daily activities.
- Lie on your back on your mat, knees bent. Keep your feet hip-width apart on the map. Keep your palms down beside your body.
- Keeping your shoulders on the floor, squeeze your gluteal muscles, and slowly lift your hips. Form a straight line from your lower back, glutes, and thighs. Feel the muscle tension in your glutes.
- Hold the top position for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.
4. Side angle stretch
The side-angle stretch is a gentle yoga move that works on your tight muscles all around the body. It’s one of the best easy stretches that can work your full body from the chest, hamstrings, hips, and neighboring joints.
Flexibility work like this plays an active role in muscle strength and balance. If you have unilateral exercises in your strength training routine, add this stretch to your pre-workout warm-up.
- Stand in a lateral lunge stance with your feet leg distance apart.
- Adjust your right foot, so the toes point outwards.
- Bend the right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Rest your right elbow on your knee. You may need to widen your stance for better balance and stability.
- Keeping your left leg straight, raise your left arm up towards the ceiling. Extend your arm over your head and form a straight line from your chest to your toes.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite sides.
5. Extended puppy stretch
Besides improving your flexibility, having a moment to unload the stress of daily things is truly beneficial to anyone of any age. This extended puppy stretch is a pose between Downward-Facing Dog and Child’s pose.
It’s an important stretching exercise that places a focus on lengthening your spine and improving your posture. This is an essential stretch, especially for seniors.
- Get on all fours on a mat. Position your hands right under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hip bones.
- Slowly walk your hands forward, lowering your chest to the mat. Your tailbone should point towards the ceiling and feel the strength on your back.
- Keep your upper arms off the mat and hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
6. Side lunge stretch
A lot of time in our sedentary lifestyle, we don’t exercise enough to increase circulation in the lower body.
This side lunge (also known as side squat) is a great stretch to target the muscles in your lower body. This simple move helps increase mobility and range of motion.
It also mimics the movements of your daily activities, making it an excellent stretch to add to your daily routine. A unilateral stretch like this helps correct muscle imbalances.
For seniors looking to improve their abilities to perform tasks n their everyday life, this is an excellent stretch to perform regularly.
- Start from a standing position with your feet leg-distance apart.
- Hinge your hips back and engage your abs. Move your body weight to the right and lunge to your right at the same time.
- Feel the stretch in your quads, inner thighs, and glutes.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat 3 times on both sides.
Note: Avoid leaning forward with your upper body.
7. Seated hamstring stretch
Many of us tend to sit all day, creating muscle tightness and shortening the length of our muscles. This seated flexibility exercise addresses the need to lengthen the legs, the major muscle group, while also working on your spine.
For seniors and those with weak back muscles, you may want to consider performing this on the back.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended right in front of you. Slightly bend your knees so your knees won’t be locked.
- Lean forward at the waist, reaching as far as you can with your arms.
- If you feel any discomfort in your back, stop and seek the help of a physical therapist.
- Otherwise, hold for this position for 10-30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 2-3 times.
Note: If you have pain in your lower back, this exercise may not be right for you. Be sure to check with a physical therapist in your area to see if this is right for you.
8. The hurdler hamstring stretch
Muscles in your legs especially the back of your legs are responsible for flexing and bending. They are also connected to glutes and hips and affect your ability to have a full range of motion.
If you have muscle tightness or a strain in your legs, this stretching exercise can be beneficial. You should feel the stretch in your calves to the hip flexor muscles.
- Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend the left leg at the knee and position the sole of the left foot against your right inner thigh.
- Extend both of your arms and reach over your straightened left leg to grab your left toes. If you can’t touch your toes with your hands, that’s okay too. Once you achieve greater flexibility, you’ll be able to touch your toes.
- Hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat with your right leg.
9. Seated straddle stretch
This floor exercise helps you become more flexible and mobile by lengthening the muscles inside and back of the legs. It’s a beginner and senior-friendly exercise that can help you achieve a greater range of motion when practiced regularly.
To prevent injury and maximize the benefits, avoid unnecessary rounding of your back.
- Assume a seated position. Spread your legs out in front of you as wide as you can.
- Hinge forward from your hips and extend your arms forward without rounding your back.
- Hold the position for 10-20 seconds.
10. Seated spinal twist
The seated spinal twist is a gentle pose that opens up your chest and hip flexor muscles. It can also help improve your mobility and correct posture by working your spine and lower back.
It’s a great stretch for your upper body and can relieve your aches in the lower back.
- Start in a seated position with your right leg extended out right in front of you.
- Bend your left knee and cross it over your right leg. Support your body with your left arm.
- Twist your upper body to the left and take your right elbow and push it against your left knee.
- Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds and slowly return to the original position.
- Switch legs and repeat on the other side
The Final Take on Stretching Exercises
Stretching regularly can increase your flexibility, improve your range of motion and reduce your risk of injury.
These 10 stretching exercises are simple and can be done anywhere at any time of the day.
Be sure to talk with a certified personal trainer or physical therapist to see if these stretches are right for you.