Advertising
Advertising

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.

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!

          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 15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine 2 10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation 3 15 Important Benefits of Stretching Before, After, and During a Workout 4 The Ultimate Workout Routine for Men (Tailored for Different Fitness Level) 5 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on April 19, 2021

          15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

          15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

          Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

          Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

          For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

          Benefits of Static Stretches

          Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

          Improved Flexibility

          If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

          Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

          Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

          Prevent Injuries

          If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

          Think of it this way:

          When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

          Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

          Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

          For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

          Advertising

          However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

          Improvement in Recovery

          If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

          Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

          Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

          Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

          Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

          • Improved relaxation
          • Increased movement efficiency
          • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
          • Reduction in muscle tension
          • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
          • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
          • Relief from cramping

          15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

          Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

          1. Neck Stretch

            While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

            Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

            2. Chest Stretch

              Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

              Advertising

              3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

              Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

                Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

                4. Triceps Static Stretch

                  Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

                  Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

                  5. Biceps Stretch

                  Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

                    Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                    6. Wrist Stretch

                    11 Best Tennis Elbow Exercises For Pain Free Mobility [PDF]

                      While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

                      7. Side Stretch

                        Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                        The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

                        Advertising

                        8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                          Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                          9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                          Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                            Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                            Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                            10. Knees to Chest

                            Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                              Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                              11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                              How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                                Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                                12. Figure 4 Stretch

                                How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                                  Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                                  13. Standing Quad Stretch

                                    Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

                                    Advertising

                                    Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                                    14. Hamstring Stretch

                                      Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                                      Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                                      15. Calf Stretch

                                        Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                        Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                        Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                        Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                        When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                        Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                        This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                        That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

                                        Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                        More Tips on Stretching

                                        Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        Read Next