We all know the importance of stretching in order to prevent cramping, increase flexibility and to create long, lean muscles. Yet few of us actually know what to do. And, to be honest, by the time we finish our cardio routine or put down the weights we’re just antsy to get the heck out of the gym. Hanging out in the stretching area just isn’t on our to do list. But is should be. And, thanks to Chicago-based personal trainer and body image coach Stephanie Mansour, we can get our stretching in easily and quickly!
How To Stretch It Out Quickly & Easily
Stretch your calves out by standing close to a wall, flexing one foot and placing toes of that foot on wall. Lean into the stretch. While stretching the calf, drop one ear down towards the same shoulder as your flexed foot. Relax the shoulder and feel a stretch on the opposite side of the neck. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the opposite calf and side of the neck. Stretching the calves helps reduce muscle craps, improves flexibility in the backs of the legs and keeps blood flowing up and down the legs and into the feet. Stretching the sides of the neck helps reduce muscle tension, tension headaches, migraines and improves posture.
Standing with feet hips distance apart, roll shoulders back and clasp hands behind your back. Stretch out the chest by moving the clasped hands away from the lower back. Take a deep breath in, then gently hinge forward at your hips and bend over your legs. Try to keep the legs straight, but if you have really tight hamstrings bend the knees and move the feet wider apart. Drop the chin towards the chest and try pulling the shoulders away from the ears. This stretches the front of the chest and shoulders, which often become slouched throughout the day, as well as the backs of your legs, which helps reduce lower back pain and increases overall flexibility.