Mobility is a vital part of a healthy body. To maintain your mobility, you need a certain level of flexibility – which means you may need to do some stretches from time to time if you want to stay limber and mobile. An added benefit of certain stretches is that they can alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you may feel due to joint or spinal issues, including back and neck pain.
Here are five simple stretches you can do to keep your body more mobile and limit common types of pain. If you have an existing workout plant, try to add these stretches to the end of your workout. Static stretching before a workout can actually cause problems with your workout performance, so save these stretches for after.
Your neck is pretty remarkable in the ways that it can move. Forward, back, side to side and 360 degrees… nothing else on your body is quite like it. But there are some drawbacks to all that flexibility. The neck can be easily overworked or injured, leading to tight muscles and discomfort.
You can tilt your neck to stretch the muscles that support it. Always start your stretch with your head in an upright, neutral position. Then, begin by tilting your head forward slowly to the point where you feel the muscles stretching. Bring it back to neutral and then do the same stretch backward.
You can tilt the neck left and right as well. Use the same process. Start in a neutral position, then tilt your head slowly left, feel the stretch, then bring the head back to neutral. Do the same on the other side.
You will see the cat-cow stretch in most yoga classes because it is so enjoyable, effective and easy to do. It helps improve the flexibility of your spine by arching it first in one direction, then the other, achieving the maximum range of movement and stretching the muscles in the process.
To do the cat-cow stretch, start on the floor on your hands and knees. If you are on a hard floor grab a towel, blanket or yoga mat to pad your knees. You want your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
You are going to start by mimicking a cow – let your belly drop toward the floor and tilt your head up towards the sky. Imagine lifting your tailbone up to the sky. Inhale throughout the movement. Then, mimic a cat by arching your back while breathing out and pushing your head towards the ground and your chin to your chest.
This is an easy stretch that anyone can do. It stretches the lower back and the buttocks and can relieve lower back pain and leg pain.
Begin by lying flat on your back with your feet planted on the floor and your knees bent. Grab your right knee and gently lift it towards your chest. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then slowly release the leg. Do the same with the other leg.
Your calves do a lot of work on your behalf but can go unnoticed until they start to tighten up. You can stretch them by standing facing a wall. Place the ball of your right foot on the wall a few inches up and gently lean into the wall, feeling the stretch along the back of your calf. Do the same with your left foot.
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