Stretching and Exercises to keep you Fit and Active

Stretching in the morning is not just something you do in bed when you don’t want to get up yet. It is actually a great way to get your body active in many senses, from your mind to your heart and blood, and your overall metabolism.

Stretching in the morning is a great way to “waken” up your muscles, and get them ready for the day. Stretching loosens up your body while increasing blood flow to your muscles. Incorporating morning stretches into your daily routine is a positive way to begin each day. These are some of the best stretches to do in the morning in just a few minutes, giving you a great start to your day and improving your overall health and flexibility.

Side Stretch:

The Standing Side Stretch Yoga Pose may give you the look of a tree swayed by wind, though this pose offers more benefits than just a stretch on your branches. This side stretch will increase the flexibility of your spine, arms, and rib cage as it stimulates the liver, kidney, and spleen functions. Furthermore, the Yoga Pose will also help realign your spinal column and will aid the lungs to take in more oxygen.

Deep Breathing Exercise:

Deep breathing is the fastest way to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, through what some practitioners call the relaxation response. Breath is the fastest medium by which these systems can communicate, flicking the switch from high alert to low in a matter of seconds. Deep breathing delivers many of the benefits of exercise, including facilitating weight loss. Though not a substitute for exercise, it’s a great first step for women just beginning an exercise plan, and deep breathing enhances the benefits of any form of exercise. Let’s look at how these effects take place and their relationship to weight loss.

Calf Stretch:

Your calf muscle runs along the back of your lower leg. To stretch your calf muscles: Stand at arm’s length from a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment. Place your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold your back straight and your hips forward. Don’t rotate your feet inward or outward. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. To deepen the stretch, slightly bend your right knee as you bend your left leg forward.

Knee to Chest Stretch:

The knee-to-chest stretch focuses on the muscles of your lower back. Don’t do this stretch if you have osteoporosis because it may increase the risk of compression fractures in your vertebrae. To do this stretch: Lie on your back on a firm surface with the backs of your heels flat on the floor. Gently pull one knee up to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Bring the knee as close to your chest as comfortably possible. Keep the opposite leg relaxed in a comfortable position, either with your knee bent or with your leg extended. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

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