One of the worst habits I have (besides picking at food while I cook) is not stretching after a workout. Once I finish that last rep or run my last lap, I’m out the door to shower and decompress!!! “Ah, I’ll do it tomorrow” I say. “Eh, I’m tired, I’ll save stretching for this weekend” and next thing I know WEEKS have passed since I last completed so much as a quad stretch! It wasn’t always this way as I was classically trained in ballet for 13 years. At the end of every class we would have a ‘reverance’ or few movements that would help stretch and elongate the muscles after a class. Since I’ve stopped dancing, my flexibility has reduced to zero!!!! I can barely touch my toes nowadays, add sitting in a cube farm for 8 hours of the day and you have a recipe for stiff joints, tight muscles, and a lot of discomfort! Ouch!
Some of the simplest stretches can actually be performed anywhere =) While watching TV, in the warm shower (this is a great way to loosen up your limbs as the steam warms your body), even in your car…while at a stop light! We are not encouraging you to multi task while driving! Neck and shoulders feeling stiff? Take a couple of seconds and take your left ear to your left shoulder, holding gently with your left hand. Breathe easy. Take the tension out of your torso and feel those muscles just relllaxxx… Repeat on the right side of course!
How about those hips? Being in front of a computer or sitting in traffic wreaks havoc on your lower body, so lie on your back (preferably on a mat or towel as to protect your joints on a hard floor) and take your left foot and place it on your right knee. Take both hands and pull your right thigh towards you and feel that booty just stretch! This is known as a pretzel stretch and it’s a great way to keep those glutes limber!
Stretching doesn’t only keep your body flexible, but it can help with mobility as you age. Not to mention it reduces your chance for injury! Check out Google or ask around at your gym for stretching exercises that work best for you=)