Regular stretching enables muscles to maintain flexibility, strength and overall health. This promotes a full range of movement at our joints and reduces the chance of muscles becoming tight and shortening. This can decrease the strength of the muscle and reduces the muscles ability to fully lengthen and extend when needed. That increases the risk of joint pain, muscle damage and strains.
How do I start stretching?
Child’s Pose = Start by kneeling on the ground with your knees and feet together. Reach your arms out long in front of you and lower your chest to your knees and your head to the ground. Try and reach as far as possible whilst simultaneously reaching your bottom back to your sit on your heels. Think about elongating your spine as much as possible.
Cat and Cow Stretch = Start with all fours on the ground, your knees sitting underneath your hips and hands underneath your shoulders. Begin arching your spine up towards the ceiling by tucking your tail bone between your legs and folding your neck so that your head is between your arms, looking back towards your knees. Then switch the pose to curve the spine inwards and turn your tail bone up towards the ceiling and move your head to look up and straight ahead. Continue to move through spinal flexion and extension.
Hip Twist = Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, and move your arms out wide to also lay on the floor. Keeping your knees and feet together try moving your knees over to the left of your body whilst turning your head to look out towards your right arm. Then switch this movement to move your knees to the right of your body and turn your head over towards your left arm. Continue to move from side to side.
Knee to Chest Stretch = Lie on your back with both legs extended out straight. Keep your left leg straight and draw your right knee in towards your chest, interlocking your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone. Switch legs extending your right leg back out and pulling your left knee into your chest. Focus on lengthening through your spine and avoid lifting your hips.
Disclaimer – These exercises are a guide only. If you have any pre-existing injury or pain please consult your local practitioner before trying at home.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist