Simple Stretching Routines You Can Perform at Home

"Easy home exercises that you can do to help ease the toll of a sedentary lifestyle and ergonomically challenged work environments on your body.” Over a year into the pandemic, most of us still choose to stay indoors and perform work tasks from makeshift offices in our homes. While telecommuting offers numerous perks, it does have its share of downsides, especially when it comes to health.

Simple Stretching Routines You Can Perform at Home 
[image: pexels by elly fairytale]


Being confined in one area for an extended period increased the likelihood of incurring body pain, particularly in the neck, shoulder, and, of course, our upper and lower back. On some days, you may have woke up feeling sluggish, aching, or tensed. Most likely, these are direct effects of being less physically active or having spent the entire day in front of your computer. 

Fortunately, different types of stretches are available for pain relief, among other benefits. Along with other forms of exercises, studies affirm that stretching helps you with the following:

● Relieve back pain

● Increase your flexibility

● Help you to relax, and

● Manage other health conditions

How do you start a stretching routine?

Now that you know that consistent stretching comes with a ton of benefits, the next question you’d probably wonder about is where to begin. Whether you should be doing static or dynamic stretching, how often you should be doing the exercise, and finally, what you should do exactly. Here’s a quick summary of the concepts you need to keep in mind: 

● Static Stretching

Static stretching has more to do with opening the body. Performing routines under this type of stretching require you to hold passive stretches for an extended period, ranging from 45 seconds to 3 minutes. 

● Dynamic Stretching

You can perform dynamic stretches without warming up since they serve the purpose of a warm-up apart from being a stretch routine. Dynamic routines require you to hold stretches for a much shorter duration (usually in a matter of seconds)            with emphasis on repetition. 

Both types of stretches have their distinct advantages and drawbacks (when performed the wrong way). However, for practical reasons, dynamic stretching is the better option to perform daily. In case you’re into other workouts, such as yoga, a frequency of every other day works too.

Dynamic Stretching Routines

Here are some of the dynamic stretching routines you can perform any time of the day. The good thing about these exercises is that they take care of all your major muscle groups while allowing you to go easy on every part of your body.

Dynamic Palm Stretch 

[image: pexels by elly fairytale]

● Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, and palms facing the thighs while looking forward.

● Choose a point of focus in front. Once done, interlock your fingers, and come up on your toes while stretching your arms up, palms facing the sky while inhaling. Hold for 5 seconds before going back to your original position.

● Remember to keep breathing while you hold the stretch and exhale as you slowly come back.

● Perform 5 reps in total.

Quad Stretch 

● While looking forward, stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, and palms facing your thighs.

● Inhale and bend your right leg with your toes pointing up. Using your right arm, grab your ankle and bring the heel as close to your buttock as possible. Hold for 5 seconds before exhaling. Repeat this step with your left leg.

●Make sure to have a good round grip around your ankle by keeping your fingers together and your thumbs apart.

● Perform 5 reps on each leg. 

Dynamic Lateral Arc Stretch 

● Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, and palms facing your thighs as you look forward.

● Lift your left arm while inhaling, then bend laterally towards your right as you exhale. While doing this step, keep your elbow straight and your left arm as close to your left ear as possible. Hold for at least five seconds. Finally, come up while inhaling, then exhale as you drop your arm down. Repeat this step, this time using your right arm.

● Complete five reps, with your right and left arm making up one count.      

Morning Stretches to Jumpstart your Day

Meanwhile, here are several stretches to help start your day right. Take a few minutes each morning to exercise major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds with three reps each, especially if your muscles and joints feel tight.

Stretches You Can Perform in Bed

Cobra Stretch

● Lie down on your stomach with your hands flat beneath your shoulders.

● Tuck your elbows in by your sides, then raise your head and chest gently while keeping your hips and groin on the bed. (Note: You may go a little deeper by lifting your tummy off the bed as well). 

● Don’t forget to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds before gently lowering back down.

Knees to Chest 

●  Bring one knee to your chest while lying flat on your back and hold it in place with your arms or hands.

● While in this position, you should feel a nice stretch in your lower back.

●(Note: You can also do this stretch by bending both knees simultaneously if it feels comfortable).

Spinal Twist 

● Raise one of your knees while lying on your back and gently roll it over to the opposite side.

● Make sure that both of your shoulders remain in contact with the bed at all times.

● Stretch one arm out to the side, keeping it in line with your shoulders, and slowly turn your head to face your outstretched arm. (Remember to do this only when it feels comfortable).

● Note: You should feel the stretch on the sides of your upper body and your lower back.

 Inhale and exhale deeply before repeating on the opposite side.

Stretches You Can Perform While Seated

Neck Stretch 

● Relax your shoulders and use your left arm to help you move your left ear towards your left shoulder. Only stretch as far as you feel comfortable. Hold for 15-20 seconds before slowly repeating on the opposite side.

Seated Arm Circles 

● Begin in a seated position, sitting up tall with your arms stretched out into a T.

●Start to make small circles rotating from your shoulder joint, reaching through your fingertips and keeping your arms nice and long.

● Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch directions.

Key Takeaways

A work-from-home setup that is so prevalent nowadays requires modifications to a traditional workday. Most of the time, you’re trying to balance responsibilities from two major areas of your life --- work and home. This balancing act alone can be a considerable source of stress amidst this pandemic.  

The stretches we mentioned in this article are designed to jumpstart your body and mind, so regularly performing them will grant you all the amazing benefits that come with each stretching routine. 

However, one important thing to remember is to listen to your body and take these stretches at your own pace. Then, as it becomes a routine, your body should feel more relaxed as you reach a little bit further, one session at a time. 

Like we always say, only take yourself to comfortable stretch without any pain. Make sure to ease off at once the moment you feel or notice any sharp or shooting pain. 

Finally, if you have an injury, speak with your doctor or a physiotherapist first to obtain a stretching routine that’s tailor-made for you.   

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