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Last Updated on February 8, 2021

Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

What happens if you never stretch? Why do you even need a stretching routine? Ever felt muscle pain and tightness or a limited range of motion in any part of your body? Maybe general tiredness and trouble falling asleep?

A good stretch routine can help you overcome not just all of the above, but it can also help you heal faster and maintain an overall healthier state of health.

A regular stretching routine also reduces your chances of injury by training the muscles to their best limit. And a gentle stretch session before bed induces better sleep and relaxes muscles so you wake up all fresh and easy.

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How Do You Start a Stretching Routine?

Once you know that regular stretching comes with tons of benefits, the question is how to start, whether you should be doing dynamic or static stretching, how often should you be doing it, and what to do exactly.

Static stretching has more to do with opening the body. In this type of stretching, you perform passive stretches and hold them for a longer period, varying from 45 seconds to even 3 minutes in some cases.

Dynamic stretching can be done without any warm-up as it serves as a stretch and warm-up together itself. The stretches are held for a much shorter duration in seconds and repetition is the key.

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Both have their own pros—and cons only if done wrong. However, for all practical purposes, dynamic stretching is a good option to do daily. A frequency of every other day is good enough too in case you are into other workouts or Yoga.

We shall go through a dynamic stretching routine here that you can do any time of the day with all the benefits as mentioned before in this article. This stretching routine takes care of all major muscle groups and gets you going easy on every part of your body.

Let us get into it.

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1. Dynamic Palm Stretch

    Image Credit: First Cry Parenting

    Stand with your feet together, arms by the side of the body, and palms facing the thighs. Look forward.

    1. Choose a point of focus in front, interlock your fingers, and while inhaling come up on your toes while stretching your arms up, palms facing the sky. Hold it for 5 seconds and come back.
    2. Keep breathing while you hold the stretch and exhale while coming back.
    3. Repeat 5 times.

    2. Dynamic Right Angle Stretch

      1. Stand with your feet together, arms by the side of the body, and palms facing the thighs. Look forward.
      2. While inhaling, stretch both your arms above the head towards the sky, fingers pointing up.
      3. While exhaling, bend forward from the lower back with arms stretched forward as close to the ears as possible.
      4. Stop as your torso comes parallel to the ground.
      5. Look down, or in case of cervical tension, look forward. Hold for 5 seconds.
      6. Inhale, come up, and stretch yourself up.
      7. Exhale and bend forward with arms stretched bringing your torso parallel to the ground.
      8. Repeat five times and relax.

      3. Dynamic Lateral Arc Stretch

      1. Stand with your feet together, arms by the side of the body, and palms facing the thighs. Look forward
      2. While inhaling lift your left arm up, while exhaling bend laterally towards your right keeping the elbow straight and left arm as close to the left ear as possible. Hold for 5 seconds.
      3. While inhaling, come up, exhale, and drop the arm down.
      4. Now inhale and lift your right arm, while exhaling bend laterally towards your left side keeping the elbow straight and right arm as close to the right ear as possible. Hold for 5 seconds.
      5. While inhaling come up, exhale, and drop the arm down.
      6. Complete five rounds with right and left together making one round.

      4. Rotation of the Waist

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        1. Stand with your feet apart slightly more than hip-width—1 to 2 feet maximum depending on your height. Be careful to not increase this distance, else the aim of the stretch is compromised.
        2. Arms by the side, palms facing the thighs. Look forward.
        3. While inhaling, lift your arms with palms facing down and bring them parallel to the ground.
        4. While exhaling, twist towards your left side bringing your right hand on the outer side of the left shoulder and your left hand on the right hip, palm turned outwards.
        5. Inhale and come back with arms parallel to the ground
        6. While exhaling, twist towards your right side bringing your left hand on the outer side of the right shoulder and right hand on the left hip, palm turned outwards.
        7. Complete five rounds with right and left together making one round.

        5. Quad Stretch

        1. Stand with your feet together, arms by the side of the body, and palms facing the thighs. Look forward.
        2. Inhale and bend your right leg, toes pointing up. Grab the ankle with the right arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for 5 seconds, and exhale release.
        3. Inhale and bend your left leg, toes pointing up. Grab the ankle with the left arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for 5 seconds, and exhale release.
        4. Make sure to have a good round grip around the ankle—fingers together, thumb apart.
        5. Complete five rounds with right and left together making one round.

        6. Dynamic Squats

          Image Credit: Redefining Strength
          1. Squat down and bring your right arm from inside, slide your right palm below the sole of the right foot, and palm facing up. Bring the left arm from the inside, slide your left palm below the sole of the left foot, and palm facing up.
          2. For those who cannot squat, please roll a mat and keep your heels on it and stand facing a wall at an arms distance from the wall so you can place your palms on the wall.
          3. Once you have found your comfortable position, hands are not to be moved from where they are.
          4. While exhaling, come up and straighten your knees, maintaining the position of the palms.
          5. Inhale, squat, and exhale while coming up again and straightening the knees.
          6. Repeat five times, slowly and with the awareness of breath.

          7. Tiger Stretch

          1. Come down on the ground on all fours—knees and palms. Ensure that the legs are hip-width apart and the knees are in line with the hips. Also, ensure that wrists and shoulders are in one line. Relax the toes.
          2. As you inhale, lift the right leg up, toes pointing up. Try to bring your toes as close to the head as possible. Let the back arch naturally. Lift your neck as if trying to meet the toes.
          3. As you exhale, bring your leg down bending the knee, and sliding it from under the body to meet the forehead. Drop your neck looking down trying to meet the knee.
          4. Repeat the stretch from the left side—both times slowly and mindfully.
          5. Complete five rounds with right and left together making one round.

          8. Dynamic Cobra Stretch

          • Lie down on your stomach on a mat with feet apart at hip distance.
          • Place the forehead on the mat and palms below the shoulders facing down, elbows turned inwards towards the body.
          • As you inhale with a firm grip on the mat, lift your torso and turn back from the right to look towards your left heel. While you are up, turn left and look towards your right heel.
          • Exhale and bring your forehead back on the mat with control.
          • Again, inhale come up, look towards your right, then left, and exhale, come down.
          • Repeat five times.

          9. Mill Churning Stretch

          1. Sit up with your legs apart and away from each other as much as is comfortable for you. Choose your maximum and convenient distance.
          2. Bring your palms together and interlock the fingers. Stretch your arms forward while straightening the elbows. The arms will remain in this position throughout this stretch. Do not bend the elbows.
          3. Inhale and exhale. Start making a big circle with your torso turning towards the right and your arms moving with it. Imagine your hip is fixed at one point and your body is encircling around it. Go as big a circle as you can by going as far back as possible.
          4. Exhale as you go down and inhale as you come up. Encircle five times.
          5. Repeat the same stretch from the left side, making a big circle five times by rotating the body from the left side.

          10. Butterfly Stretch With Forward-Fold

          1. For our final stretch, sit up, bend your knees, and bring the sole of the feet together facing each other.
          2. Bring the heels as close to the pelvis as possible without feeling any pain in the knees.
          3. Stretch the spine straight and keeping it straight, encircle your palms around the toes from both sides, making a firm grip.
          4. Breathe and start flapping your feet like how a butterfly flaps its—wings slowly and gently.
          5. After a couple of flaps, sit straight with spine stretched up and keeping the same position of hands, bend forward from the lower back.
          6. Without curling the spine, bend as forward as possible and breathe. Hold it for 10 seconds to as long as you would like to without feeling any pain in the lower back.

          Stretch Your Health Forward

          Now that you know all the amazing benefits that come with just a short 15-minute stretching routine, don’t wait up. Get up and try this stretching routine right now as you don’t need to warm up before this.

          Know what? Besides stretching your body regularly, doing some cardio exericses at home can help you stay fit too. Grab this Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan for free and start working out at home.

          I wish you all the best in taking your health several steps ahead, and keep stretching!

          More Stretching Routines You Can Try

          Featured photo credit: Dane Wetton via unsplash.com

          More by this author

          Roli Jain

          Internationally Certified Hatha Yoga Coach & Therapist. On a mission to transform lives through Yoga after transforming my own.

          Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

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          Last Updated on March 3, 2021

          10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

          10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

          Building muscle is one of the best ways to help you feel better about your appearance, but it’s also a great way to improve your physical efficiency, stabilize your bones and joints, and reduce risk of injury in everyday life. However, most people aren’t sure how to go about building muscle in the best way.

          By carefully selecting the time of your workout, the combination of techniques, and the proper post-workout snacks, you can maximize your workout to build strength and muscle. Here are the essential tips you need to know.

          1. Work out at the Right Time of Day

          The time of day when you choose to work out can make all the difference when it comes to working out to your maximum potential. Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, says that working out in the morning is best for weight loss due to the body’s hormonal composition at that time. If you really want to lose fat, exercise on an empty stomach[1].

          Now, if your goal is to build muscle, you’ll want to eat something first. This means that an afternoon or evening workout can serve you better as your body will have the necessary nutrients to perform well during a workout.

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          Ultimately, the best time to work out is the time of day that fits into your schedule. Not everyone has the luxury of working out in the morning or right after work. If you’re able to stick to a schedule, it will help you on your journey to building muscle.

          If you need help just getting started and finding motivation to get to the gym, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost.

          2. Weights Before Cardio

          If your goal is to lose weight or build muscle mass, strength training should come first, according to researchers. Furthermore, studies have shown that “Moderate- to high-intensity endurance training decreases the efficacy of strength training.” Therefore, if you’re going to train for a marathon, do so after you lift weights.[2]

          3. Eat Often (and More)

          Keep your energy up and give your body plenty of fuel for building muscle by eating small meals every three hours or so. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, ideally the equivalent amount of protein in grams as your current body weight in pounds. For example, a 150-pound man would aim to take in 150 grams of protein per day.

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          When trying to build muscle, aim to eat 250 to 500 calories more than you normally would, but don’t go too far beyond that. Your body may store the extra calories as body fat if it doesn’t use them during or after the workout.

          4. Eat a Snack After You Work out

          After a workout, your body will need a good dose of protein and amino acids in order to aid in muscle growth and recovery. This is essential to building muscle, as without the recovery, you can open yourself up to muscle strain and injury.

          You should aim to eat this high-protein snack within about 60 minutes of ending your workout. This will help the muscles absorb the nutrients when they need them. Try yogurt, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, nuts, or a protein shake as a great post-workout snack.

          5. Stay Hydrated

          The last thing you need complicating your workout is a cramp or fatigue, so drinking water before, during, and after your workout for best results. This will also aid in the recovery process as the muscles will use water to heal.

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          6. Never Skip the Warm up or Cool Down

          Stretching prevents muscle strain, helps blood more easily reach the joints and muscles, and can help lower cholesterol when done as part of a yoga or Pilates routine. Muscles also need to realign themselves after an intense workout, which a few minutes of stretching can help to accomplish.

          7. Combine Compound and Isolate Movements

          While isolating certain muscles is important, you need to alternate compound motions as well, which will target multiple muscle groups at once. Compound workouts are good for beginners and for toning certain parts of the body. They’ll also burn more calories and increase your mobility.

          Compound movements include squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups. These target several muscles groups at once. If you find that one muscle group is weaker than the rest, you can incorporate isolate movements to build it up.

          8. Gradually Increase Your Weights

          Increase the weight you’re lifting on each exercise by about 5 percent each week. If you bench-pressed 100 pounds this week, for example, then next week you should try doing 105 pounds. This gradual increase will yield the best muscle building results without overly straining your body.

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          9. Budget the Correct Amount of Time for Your Workout

          Studies have found that working out a muscle group two times a week is the best way to start building muscle more quickly. You will certainly see some results by only working a muscle group once a week, but try twice to give yourself a boost.

          Also, you don’t need to spend two hours in the gym each time you go. 20 to 30 minutes of weight lifting and strength training will help you see results and increase your muscle mass. If you go to the gym for an hour, try varying your workout a bit in order to avoid overworking a certain muscle group.

          10. Look in the Mirror

          Try to do all of your weight lifting in front of a mirror. That way, you can correct your posture and make sure you are fully extending your muscles. Correct form means means maximized results.

          This will likely feel strange at first, especially if you feel self conscious at the gym. However, know that this is normal and what many seasoned weight lifters do to ensure proper form.

          The Bottom Line

          Building muscle is a worthy goal to have as it will ultimately improve your everyday life from the ground up. You’ll find that everyday tasks become easier and that you have more energy for both your workouts and personal life. Use the tips above to start building muscle today.

          More on Building Muscle

          Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

          Reference

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