8 Stretches to Loosen Up Your Shelter In Place
Some who know me would call me an excessive stretcher. I like to stretch most moments that I’m not engaged in another activity. It’s something you can do anywhere and your body can always use a good stretch!
You may realize you’re carrying more stress in your body than usual so setting aside some time for stretching is going to really release some of that tension you’re holding in yours muscles. Not only that, but if you’ve been stationary or seated a lot more than usual, some of your major muscle areas can tighten up, especially your hips and back.
These are some of my favorite stretches right now. Feel free to incorporate some or all of these in your daily routine. You can ease yourself into these stretches at any level. Only stretch as far as your body will comfortably let you today. Everyday is different and you may just need to stretch those spots a little longer. Always balance out your body by targeting both sides of any stretch. Not only should you be gentle going into the stretch, but also coming out of it.
1. The good ol’ lunge! This is a fantastic hip opener that you can do anywhere...even waiting in line at the grocery store. If you want more support you can put your hand on your thigh or, once you’re in position, lift your arms for an added torso stretch! I’m putting my hands behind my head because I am working on supporting my head in alignment with my body and combating the forward head/text neck problem! Oftentimes when you bend your front knee, the hip on the opposite side may pull back or down toward the floor, so you should focus on keeping your hip bones parallel and pointing forward.
2. This deeper floor lunge is a more intense variation, but honestly I like to do both because hips are important! Use the floor as leverage to sink further into your hip stretch. Check your back extended leg is in a straight line, including your foot. I keep my toe pointed so I can really get a nice stretch all along the front of my leg, not just my hips. I find this one a little more relaxing and it’s always easier to balance when you’re closer to the ground.
3. A one legged quad stretch really works on opening and straightening your hips in addition to quads! Make sure to activate your core and tuck your butt so it’s in line with your body. Don’t hesitate to use a chair or something if you need to hold onto something for support. What’s most important is that you’re feeling the stretch. Once you’ve got that down then you can focus more on balancing.
4. Not always as graceful as one, but also known as the Butterfly Stretch, this position opens up your inner thighs and hips so well! Plus, you can rest your head for a while and slowly relax those hips more as you gently bring your knees down further toward the ground. Sometimes I’ll rest my head on a pillow and accidentally pass out. Whoops! You can do this with a forward hip fold like the picture and get a little lower back stretch, or sit more upright with your hands on your knees. If you want more of a back stretch, you can incorporate a gentle twist.
5. This chest opener is an essential one if you’ve been feeling some upper back tension from hunching, perhaps from consuming a lot of digital entertainment or focusing hard on projects (sewing? That’s real). Lay vertically on a roller or long mound of pillows that will get you a few inches off the ground. Make sure your shoulders are even and stretched down away from your ears, and that you’re laying in an active position - you still need to hold yourself up with your core and feet. Open up your arms and let gravity gently stretch your arms down toward the ground while you maintain your distance from shoulders to ears. You can also do the modified version and have your arms more parallel to the body for a slightly different but equally important stretch. I usually fall off the roller before I fall asleep.
6. Stretch your glutes and reduce hip stiffness with this one! Lay on your back, and bend one knee, pulling that leg toward you with your hands until you feel a gradual stretch in your glutes. A nice variation is slowly extending your bent leg up toward the ceiling at various angles. You can also use a yoga strap or a belt around the bottom of the foot you’re extending upward to help you get more control of your leg. I insist you pair this one with at least one of the next 2 floor twist stretches.
7. All righty, let’s lay on the ground and use the flat surface to help us realign our muscles. This is a great chest opener, neck/shoulder stretch and back twist. I love multitasking! With arms wide, get your shoulders evenly on the ground stretching down away from your ears. Begin your slow and gentle twist with both knees moving in one direction toward the ground. They may not go right to the ground. Let your body go as far as it comfortably can, but don’t force it. If you want an added stretch then face your head in the opposite direction of your knees and rest it on the ground. Take some deep breaths and work your knees toward the ground. If the stretch is intense you can add a pillow under your knees at the height you’re currently stretching.
8. This stretch looks the same as the one above but it’s not! In this position, you have one straight leg that remains aligned with your body and the other leg is extended. For another variation you can play around with bending your extended leg at different degrees. This one works wonders on my glutes and hips and this is my “I’m going to bed” stretch and sometimes I’ll just do it in bed because who wants to wake up on the floor? At the right angles, this also really stretches your IT band. It can be intense so feel free to use a pillow for your extended leg so that you can really relax and not stiffen your muscles by trying to hold your leg up.
Thank youOn May 07, 2020
I’ve been running and biking but no upper body or stretching since the gym closed