Theses simple stretching movements offer a host of health benefits

Stretchingnv-body-oct-nov-16

Theses simple movements offer a host of health benefits.

By Kim Miller and Shannon Dougherty

Photos by Stephanie Heymann

Stretching, although often overlooked in one’s fitness routine, is an important part of staying in shape. Stretching offers a wealth of health benefits including reducing risk of injury, better posture, and improved performance in a variety of sports. Stretching increases your blood flow and sends oxygen to your brain, which ultimately lifts your mood.

For individuals who exercise, stretching helps to reduce soreness afterward and also lengthens your muscles, which may have shortened as a result of workouts such as weight training. Below are four effective stretching exercise to incorporate into your routine.

     

Overhead Tricep Stretch

Set Up: Reach up to the sky with one hand. Bend your elbow and put your forearm down behind your head, between your shoulder blades.

Action: Reach up and grab your raised elbow with your opposite arm. Pull your elbow toward your head. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat with other arm.

 

Cross Arm Shoulder Stretch

Set Up: Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart.

Action: Bend your right arm at the elbow, and extend it across your chest. Place your left hand slightly behind your elbow to support the right arm during the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

 

Standing Quad Stretch

Set Up: Stand up, pull one leg behind you and hold on to your foot or ankle.

Action: Once holding onto your foot, continue to apply upward pressure. Hold for 30 seconds before repeating with the other leg.

 

Side Lunge Stretch

Set Up: Stand with feet far apart, toes pointed straight ahead.

Action: Lunge toward one side. Allow foot of straight leg to point upward with heel on the floor. Hold stretch. Repeat on opposite leg. Keep back straight during stretch.

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