Flexible muscles and joints allow you to move more easily without pain and stiffness. Everything from daily activities to intense workouts are made easier by improving flexibility. Make this important fitness component a priority by taking time to stretch every day. Hold these stretches for at least 20 seconds and perform each two to three times.
Full Body Reach and Bend
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms straight overhead. Reach your hands to the sky and hold. Lean towards the right, bending slightly at the waist. Hold the stretch here so that you feel it from your left arm, down your side to your left hip. Return to center, lean to the left and hold again.
Lunging Quadriceps Stretch
Step into a lunge position with right foot forward and your right knee bent at 90 degrees. Slowly lower the left knee towards the floor (your heel should lift off the ground). Hold when you feel a stretch through the front of your left thigh and hip. Repeat on the other side.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot about two feet out in front of you. Keep both legs straight and bend forward at the waist. Reach towards your right foot until you feel a stretch in the hamstring of your right leg. Deepen the stretch by lifting your right toes off the ground and bending your left knee as you sit back slightly. Hold the stretch and repeat on the other side.
Chest and Shoulder Stretch
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Reach both arms behind you and clasp your hands behind your lower back. (If you cannot clasp your hands, simply reach both arms back.) Gently raise your arms into the air only to the point where you feel a deep stretch in your chest and hold.
Lying Hip Stretch
Lie on your back on the floor with your arms at your side, your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right knee in towards your chest. Rest your right ankle on your left knee. Grasp the back of your left thigh and gently pull the leg towards you, lifting the left foot off the ground. Hold when you feel a stretch in your right hip. Repeat on the other side.
Position yourself on your hands and knees. Sit your bottom on your heels as you bring your forehead down to rest on the floor. Reach your hands in front of you with your arms along the ground. Hold the stretch.