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Healthy Living

Stretching Exercises

Stretching comes naturally to all of us. If we have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, we stretch unconsciously. It feels good. Stretching has the following advantages:

  • Reduces muscle tension and makes the whole body feel supple.

  • Increases range of movements in the joints.

  • Prevents injuries.

  • Helps to prepare for the desired activity like running, swimming, cycling etc.

  • Increases the temperature of the muscles, which optimises their performance.

  • Increases the circulation of the blood to various parts of the body.

  • Enhances muscular co-ordination

Stretching exercises are simple. A good stretch needs to be held for 20-30 seconds for each muscle group. Do the stretches without any bouncy movements. During the stretch programme keep breathing rhythmic, slow and under control. For example, if you are doing forward bends, inhale while coming forward, breathe slowly during the stretch and exhale while coming up. Do not hold your breath during stretch exercises. Stretching exercises help to relieve tension and promote flexibility in your muscles and joints.

Neck Roll

  • Drop your chin to your chest. Stay in this position and feel the stretch in the back of your neck.

  • Roll your head to the right. Stay in this position and feel the stretch on the left side.

  • Roll your head to the front again. Now, roll your head to the left. Stay in this position and feel the stretch on the right side.

Do not roll your head backward! You could crush the vertebrae at the top of your spinal column.

Shoulder Roll

  • With your arms relaxed at your sides, rotate your right shoulder backward in a circular motion. Be sure to complete the circle while keeping your arm straight at your side.

  • Repeat this 4 times.

Repeat the exercise with the left shoulder.

  • Rotate both shoulders at the same time.

  • Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder Reach

  • Hold your arms straight in front with palms facing each other.

  • Interlace your fingers and rotate your palms so they face away from your body.

  • Extend your arms forward until you feel a stretch your shoulders and arms.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Variation of Shoulder Reach :

  • Raise your arms over your head with palms up.

  • Push your arms upward and slightly behind your head.

  • Hold on, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Wrist Roll

  • Make a loose fist with your right hand.

  • Holding your arm still, slowly rotate your hand in a circular motion at the wrist.

  • Repeat this 10 times in each direction.

Repeat the exercise with your left hand.

Toe – Touch Stretch

  • Sitting toward the back of the chair, place your hands on your thighs.

  • With your left foot on the floor for balance, extend your right leg.

  • Bend forward slowly and reach for your right foot.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds.

  • Sit up slowly and put your right foot on the floor.

  • Repeat this 4 times.

Repeat the exercise with your left leg.

Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart.

  • Raise your right arm in front.

  • Bending at the elbow, bring your right arm across your chest at shoulder level until you feel a slight pull in your shoulder.

  • Gently apply pressure with your left hand at your right elbow.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Repeat the exercise with your left arm.

Chest Stretch

  • Stand just outside an open doorway (the doorway should be behind you) and face outward.

  • Grab both sides of the doorframe at chest level.

  • Take a step forward and let your arms straighten behind you. Keep your head up and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest muscles.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Shoulder Pull

  • Stand just inside an open doorway (the doorway should be in front of you) and face outward.

  • Grab both sides of the doorframe at the chest level.

  • Lean back until you feel a stretch in your shoulder muscles.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Side Bend

  • Stand with your feet apart, with knees slightly bent.

  • Raise your right hand over your head and place your left hand on your left hip.

  • Lean to the left, bending slightly at the waist. Stop as soon as you feel a slight stretch in your right side.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds and then slowly return to the standing position.

  • Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Repeat the exercise 5 to 10 times to the right side.

Back Arch

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent.

  • Place your hands on the front of your thighs and bend forward slightly at the waist, without bending your back.

  • Slowly inhale and arch your back.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then exhale.

  • Straighten your back and return to the standing position.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Back Bend

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent.

  • Place your hands on your hips.

  • Lean backward slightly. Be sure not to lean too far back!

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Calf Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall, with your feet about three feet away from the wall.

  • Place your hands on the wall at about shoulder level.

  • Keeping your feet flat on the floor, lean forward until you feel a slight stretch in your calves.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 10 times.

Front Thigh Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall, with your feet about three feet from the wall.

  • Place your right hand on the wall at chest level.

  • Bend your left leg backwards.

  • Use your left hand to grab the top of your left foot behind you.

  • Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks.

  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Repeat the exercise with your right leg and hand.

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