Loosen Up With Flexibility Exercises

Woman Stretching Outside

Stretching and flexibility exercises will change your life, no matter how old you are or what kind of shape you’re in. Long hours at the computer and driving can make you stiff and sore, eventually, your muscles will shorten and lose range of motion. The solution? Flexibility exercises.

Balance Your Cardio and Weight Program

The goal of stretching is to lengthen muscles. If you focus only on cardio, which contracts and shortens your muscles, then you risk overcompensating and muscle imbalances. Muscles that are too tight to engage properly will lead to discomfort and strains.

Flexibility Exercises

These stretches address a variety of muscle groups. There are many others that can be done easily on your slideboard as well. Incorporate some into your daily routine, and it won’t take long to feel the difference.

Standing Quad Stretch:

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Bend your right knee and pull your right foot toward your butt with your right hand. Keep your knees together.
  • It’s okay to put your hand on a chair or wall for balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, and build up to 2 minutes with practice.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Standing Lunge With Spinal Twist (hips, quads, back):

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Take a big step forward with your right foot so that you are in a staggered stance.
  • Bend your right knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your left leg straight behind you with your toes on the ground. You will feel a stretch at the front of your left thigh.
  • Place your left hand on the floor and twist your upper body to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, and build up to 2 minutes with practice.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Butterfly Stretch (hips, glute, back, thighs):

  • Sit tall on the floor with your soles of your feet together and your knees dropped out to the sides.
  • Hold onto your ankles or feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor.
  • If you’re too tight to bend over, just press your knees down.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, and build up to 2 minutes with practice.

Piriformis Stretch (hips, back, glutes):

  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.
  • Cross your left leg over your right, and place your left foot flat on the floor.
  • Place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
  • Place your right hand on your left quad or your right elbow on your left knee and press your left leg to the right as you twist your torso to the left.
  • If the spinal rotation is too uncomfortable for your back, just use your right hand to pull your left quad in and to the right.