5 Daily Stretches to Look and Feel Younger
I know it’s not always easy to make time to stretch every day. We’re a busy, multi-tasking generation that tends to fill every hour with an activity. It’s especially hard when you’re a mom, or badass girl boss (or both?) juggling your life and another human's life or company...
Usually, the first physical practice to go is stretching. People skip stretching because it hurts, they have no time or it simply isn’t stimulating enough to make them feel like they’re “working out”.
Unfortunately daily stretching and mindful breathing into the muscles and joints is one of the best things you could do for your body. Young, old, fit, overweight, male, female – everyone can experience immediate effects and benefits from daily stretching.
Stretching in it's simplest definition, is a way to increase blood flow to the muscles and joints. An increase of blood flow brings in new cells and regenerates the muscle tissues. The less you stretch, the less you bring new, vital nutrients to your muscles.
These 5 essential stretches are great for everyone. Not just yogis. Try them at home before you leave the house, then once you feel comfortable incorporate them during your work day at the office, airport, classroom, airport – wherever!
This classic pose relieves lower back pain and neck pain. It’s perfect for an early morning stretch or before bed. It feels like it’s literally working out the kinks as you move through it.
Start on all fours with hand shoulder-width apart. Press the palms into the ground and expand your fingers on the mat.
On an inhale arch your lower back, while you lift your head and roll your shoulder blades down your back. Keep your gaze to the tip of your nose to avoid hyperextending the neck.
On an exhale, curve your lower spine to the sky and bring your chin to your chest as you gaze towards your navel.
Repeat a few times here and if it feels juicy to hang out in one spot, let it marinate!
A classic. This pose helps stretch and alleviate the backs of the legs, while strengthening the shoulder girdle, hands and ankle. This pose also allows a nice opening around the deep core muscles when the lower belly is engaged.
Plus, anytime your head is below your heart (inversion) your parasympathetic nervous system turns on and stimulates the Vegas Nerve allowing for healing to occur.
Start on all fours with the hands shoulder-width apart and shoulders in-line with hands.
Un-tuck the toes and lift your knees back away from you.
Reach your heals back towards the ground, while you lift the tailbone to the sky.
Try to keep weight evenly-distributed on the hands and feet.
A deep runners lunge can be very healing, by stretching and opening the muscles around the hips like the psoas and glutes. Just opening these muscles along relieves tension, stress and depression. This is also a must for any runner.
Step your right foot forward in a lunge. Bring your left knee down to the ground and stack the shoulders over hips, over you back knee.
Draw the navel back to your spine and bring your hands over head. On an inhale, stretch your arms high above your head. On an exhale tilt to the side of the front leg (right)
To deepen the stretch reach back and grab the tops of the left toes to combo a quadriceps stretch.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
By stretching your quadriceps daily, you’re making a commitment to keep fluidity and flexibility in your knees, which is super important for office workers and long commuters.
Start standing on both feet. Bend the right knee and reach back to grab the tops of the right toes. With your hand bring your right heal to your tush while keeping your ribs over your hips. I like to bring my navel back to spine to help keep the integrity of the pose. No arching here your back here…
This easy-going spinal twist is perfect at any time of the day. It helps quiet the mind, stimulates digestion by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Try closing your eyes in this pose and let your exhales push you deeper into the pose and inhales relax your pose.
Start lying on your back and bring your knees toward your chest. Squeeze knees in towards your body, while keeping your lower back on the floor. Twist to the side and keep your gaze in the opposite direction to intensify the stretch.
From here you can explore keeping the shoulders grounded, extending the legs and even wrapping the legs around each other for different sensations.