11 Everyday Stretches to Help You Stay Flexible and Avoid Pain

11 Everyday Stretches to Help You Stay Flexible and Avoid Pain

Some types of pain are caused by injury or disease, but other types of chronic pain only occur in the absence of proper flexibility. Stretching reduces inflammation throughout your body, and it also improves blood flow. Wherever you’re experiencing pain, stretching is an integral component of your physical therapy routine, and here are our 11 favorite stretches for staying limber and fighting back against pain.

1. Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This stretch is excellent for reducing lower back pain, and it also loosens up your thighs, hips, and glutes. Plus, it’s one of the easiest stretches on this list, and it accommodates all body types. Learn how to perform a knee-to-chest stretch:

  1. Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat or another soft surface
  2. With your arms at your sides and your legs straight out, inhale
  3. As you exhale, lift one of your legs up, and bend your knee
  4. Keep moving your bent leg up until your knee is as close to your chest as possible
  5. Hold this position for a few moments, but take care not to push your knee beyond your comfort zone
  6. Release the pose, and gradually let your leg sink down
  7. Repeat this process with your other leg
  8. Stretch both legs five times each or as many times as are comfortable

2. Child’s Pose

As one of the most popular and well-known yoga poses, the Child’s Pose is relatively easy to perform, and it stretches your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. Not only does the Child’s Pose relieve pain in your back, but it may also improve your overall flexibility and make you feel better prepared for physical activities like walking or riding a bike. Here’s how to do the Child’s Pose:

  1. On a yoga mat or another soft surface, start on all fours
  2. With your arms outstretched in front of you and your weight on your knees, allow your backside to rest down on your heels
  3. Hold this position, and then come back up
  4. Repeat 10 times or as necessary

3. Seated Spinal Twist

This stretch limbers up your abdominal muscles, and it also helps reduce back pain. In fact, there aren’t many parts of your body that the seated spinal twist doesn’t stretch. Here’s how to pull off a perfect seated spinal twist at the gym or at home:

  1. Sit on a cushion with your legs extended in front of you
  2. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the other side of your left thigh
  3. Lift your arms up, and twist your spine to the right side
  4. Place your right hand on the floor behind you, and place your left arm on the other side of your raised thigh
  5. Hold this pose for 1 minute, and then switch to the other side

4. Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt reduces strain in your lower back, and it also limbers up your glutes. This stretch can be beneficial for a wide variety of conditions. Learn how to do this stretch:

  1. Lie on your back, and place your feet on the floor with your legs bent
  2. Flatten your back against the floor, and lift your pelvis upward using your abdominal muscles
  3. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds, and then release
  4. Take a few deep breaths, and repeat this stretch up to five times per set
  5. Perform 1-3 sets

5. Piriformis Stretch

Your piriformis is embedded deep under your glutes, and stretching this muscle can reduce lower back pain and improve your overall flexibility. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Lying on the floor with both knees bent, pull one knee up to your chest
  2. Use the opposite hand to pull your raised foot sideways across your opposite thigh
  3. Hold this position for approximately 1 minute
  4. Release, and then repeat the stretch with the other leg

6. Cat-cow Stretch

This yoga pose combines a couple of different stretches into one. Here’s how to do the Cat-cow step-by-step:

  1. Get on all fours with your head dangling down
  2. As you inhale, raise your head up, and allow air to fill your abdomen
  3. As you lower your head, raise your lower back until it bends into an arch
  4. Release, and fluidly transition back into the raised head position
  5. Repeat 5-10 times

7. Butterfly Stretch

This simple stretch limbers up your hamstrings and reduces lower back pain. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you
  2. Slowly put the soles of your feet together while keeping your knees on the floor
  3. Pull your feet as close to your pelvis as possible without causing discomfort
  4. Hold this position, and bend your torso forward to increase the effects

8. Lying Quad Stretch

Here’s how to stretch your quads and back with the lying quad stretch:

  1. Lie on one side, and push your top foot back until you can grab it with your hand
  2. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, and release

9. Tricep Stretch

  1. In any upright position, raise one hand and place it palm-down on your back
  2. Use your other arm to hold your hand in place, then switch arms

10. Sphinx Pose

  1. Lying flat on your abdomen, raise yourself up on your elbows
  2. Maintain this position to stretch your abdominal muscles and reduce lower back pain

11. Seated Shoulder Squeeze

  1. Sitting with your legs in front of you, clasp both hands behind your back
  2. Extend your hands backward until your arms are straight

Hold this position as your shoulder blades squeeze together and reduce upper back tension

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