Starting a stretch routine allows you to reap all the benefits that stretching has to offer. Stretching exercises should be performed in a comfortable area with no distractions, so that you can focus on reaching your full potential. Wear clothes that are light and that do not restrict your movement. Warm up before you stretch. A good warm up activity is going for a 10 minute walk.
When starting a stretch routine, make sure that you're performing stretches correctly to prevent injury. Start with performing each exercise a few times, and as your muscles become more supple, you can increase the amount of time you spend on each one. Listen to your body and if a stretch is causing you pain, stop immediately. Stretches should only produce mild tension, so don't force yourself into a difficult stretch. Stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds. When performing stretches, movements should be smooth; jerky movements should be avoided. Keep a regular breathing rhythm while stretching and never hold your breath while trying to perform a stretch.
If you have any injuries, such as a back injury, be cautious about what stretches you perform. Ideally, you should consult an expert who can give you advice specific to your injury. When starting a stretch routine, include exercises that are not risky, such as ones that involve twisting. It's important to have variety in your routine so that you don't get bored. As a start, the following are stretches that can be incorporated into your stretch routine.
This stretch focuses on stretching the muscles in your abdomen. Lie flat on the floor face down. Place your hands palm down on the ground in line with your shoulders. Straighten your arms, lifting the top half of your body up and keeping your head aligned with your spine.
This stretch focuses on your lower back. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet against the floor. Lift your knees up and hug them towards yourself. Link your hands behind your thighs to pull your knees towards yourself. Hold for 30 seconds, then release and repeat.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift one leg into the air, keeping your leg straight but slightly bent at the knee. Put your hand around your leg and pull it towards your chest. Hold for a count of 30, then release and repeat.
This stretch focuses on your shoulders. Kneel down on the floor and extend your arms forward. Stretch your buttocks towards your heels while keeping your arms extended in front of you. Keep this position for 15 seconds, then release and repeat.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Keep your arm straight and bend it over your left shoulder. Place your right hand on your left elbow to help pull your arm over. Hold the position and then release. Perform the same exercise with your other arm.
Lower Spine Stretch
This exercise focuses on opening the lower spine. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your buttocks of the floor. Roll your back down, slowly placing each part of your back on the floor.