Prepare for summer with a winter stretching regimeJust before spring arrives, winter gets jealous and the weather gets really cold for a few days. It’s too early to exercise outdoors, and so stretching your body at home is a good way to keep in shape.
In fact, stretching your body everyday makes your muscles pliable, and also helps you to keep off those pounds gained from winter holiday excesses. Stretching is also good for weekend sports aficionados as it helps them stay fit during the week. So here is a list of different ways of stretching. For the best results, you should remain in the extended position for at least 10 to 20 seconds, focusing your mind on the muscles involved. It’s also important to relax from the stretched position gradually as a sudden release could result in injury. Without further ado, follow the instructions below and stretch yourself to a healthy body.
1. Stand with your legs a shoulder width apart while facing a wall or a partner. Place the palm of one hand against the wall or partner’s hand and push against it until the shoulder and biceps feel tense. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then slowly release the pressure and relax the arm. Push the arm behind your back slowly until the biceps are stretched and then relax. Repeat for the other side.
2. Stand with your legs a shoulder width apart. Place the palm of one hand on the back of your neck. Hold the elbow with your opposite hand and gently push it backwards behind the head until you feel the tricep muscles tighten. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then release. Repeat for the other side.
3. Position your arm across your chest and using the opposite hand to pull the elbow into the body . You will feel the triceps tense. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat for the other side.
4. Stand with your legs slightly wider than a shoulder width apart. Place your left hand on your left knee and with your right arm over your head lean to the left until you feel the abdominal muscles on your right side tense. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and relax. Repeat for the other side.
5. Lie on your stomach on a mat with your legs straight out. Place your forearms on the mat so that your elbows are at 90 degrees and raise the upper body slowly. Hold the position with your head looking at the ceiling and breathe deeply as you stretch your abdominal muscles and then relax. Repeat.
6. Bend the right knee at a right angle and place both hands on it. Stretch your left leg out as far as possible behind you with your back straight. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat for the other side. This helps to stretch and relax the thigh and hip muscles.
7. Sit on floor with your right leg stretched to the right. Brace yourself with your left arm on the floor. Cross your left leg over the right one with the left foot going behind the right knee. Gently pull the left leg into the body. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
8. Kneel down and put both hands on the floor. Then slowly arch your back as far as you can while tucking your head into your chest. This is a yoga position called the cat. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat.
9. Kneel down. While bending from the waist, stretch out your arms in front of you as far as possible while arching your abdomen and bending the spine backwards. Stretch your neck and try to look at the ceiling. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat. This posture exercises the muscles of back, abdomen and hip.
10. Lie on your back with your right leg slightly bent. Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands and pull toward the chest. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and relax slowly. Repeat for the other side. This is good for the thighs and hips.
by Chung Jeh-won