Advertising

Last Updated on February 8, 2021

Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

      Advertising

        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!

          Advertising

          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.

          10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief 5 Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses to Try Anytime Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

          Trending in Exercise & Training

          1 5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home 2 Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide) 3 9 Simple Cardio/Core Exercises You Can Do At Home 4 30-Minute HIIT Workout You Can Do At Home (Without Equipment) 5 7 Best Resistance Bands to Work Out at Home

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on October 4, 2021

          5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

          Advertising
          5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

          With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

          Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

          Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

          We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

          • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
          • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
          • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
          • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
          • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
          • Total: 20 to 22 hours

          Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

          Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

          • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
          • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
          • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

          Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

          Advertising

          Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

          No equipment? No problem.

          So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

          Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

          Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

          1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

          Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

          Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

          • Quadruped Rocks
          • Frog Stretch
          • Hip Prying
          • Scapula Push-ups
          • Hindu push-ups

          Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

          Advertising

          2. Yoga

          Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

          3. Calisthenics

          Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

          You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

          Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

          4. Aerobic Exercise

          Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

          Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

          Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

          Advertising

          5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

          High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

          Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

          Chipper 60

          Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

          If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

          What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

          Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

          Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

          Sleep

          Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

          Advertising

          “Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

          Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

          Stress

          We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

          Stimulants

          Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

          Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

          Final Thoughts

          Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

          Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

          Advertising

          Reference

          [1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
          [2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

          Read Next