10 stretches to improve flexibility

Stretching is an important aspect of keeping fit and healthy. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine can help to improve your flexibility, reduces stress and body aches, whilst improving your posture.

Light stretching should take place before and after any exercise to ensure that your muscles are warmed up and down properly. This helps to prevent muscle ache and fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. Stretching is also a great way to improve your overall flexibility and is something you can add to your daily routine, even on a rest day!

These are 10 of our favourite stretches for you to practice daily; they will help improve full body flexibility and movement. We recommend practicing these stretches for 10-20 minutes each day (or for even longer if more if you have the time).

 

1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand up tall with your leg’s hips-width apart, your knees slightly bent and your arms hanging by your side.
Slowly bend forward at the hips, lowering your head towards floor, keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Leaving your arms by your sides
For a deeper stretch, wrap your arms around your legs and hold for up to 2 minutes.
When finished, release and slowly rise to standing point.

2. Standing Quad Stretch

Standing up straight with your legs hips width apart, lift up your left leg behind you, bending your knee and bringing the heel of your foot as close to your bottom as possible.
If you’re finding it hard to balance on leg, stand next to a wall or surface you can gently hold onto to keep your balance.
Hold this stretch for up to 2 minutes and then swap legs.

3. Butterfly Stretch

Sitting on the floor, with your back tall, place the soles of your feet together with your knees bent out towards the sides.
Hold onto your feet or ankles, and whilst engaging your abs slowly lower your body towards the floor.
For a deeper stretch, push down on your knees so that they move closer towards the floor, holding for up to 2 minutes.
When finished, release and slowly rise to sitting tall.

4. Low Lunge

Kneel on your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you with your leg bent.
Gently slide your left knee backwards, keeping your right foot still, until you feel a nice stretch through the hip and thigh.
Hold this pose for up to two minutes, before switching legs and doing again.

5. Figure 4 stretch

Lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Cross your left foot over your to your right thigh, above the knew
Lift your right leg off the floor, holding onto the back of your right leg, gently pulling it towards your chest.
Hold for up to 2 minutes before switching sides and repeating.

6. Knees to chest

Lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Bring both of your knees towards your chest and wrap your arms around them, hugging your knees in towards your chest.
Hold this position for up to 2 minutes. If it feels right, you can gently rock side to side.

7. Seated hamstrings stretch

Sit up straight with your legs extended out in front of you, bring your left leg up, before letting it drop the side (as if you were to sit cross legged).
Leaving your right leg still extended out straight in front of you; bend forward, leading from the hips keeping your back straight and reach towards your right foot.
Depending on your flexibility, hold onto your foot/ankle/calf and hold the stretch for up to two minutes.
Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

8. Triceps stretch

Kneel, sit or stand with your legs hip width apart and extend your arms overhead.
Bend your left elbow backwards, reaching with your hand to touch the top middle of your back.
With your right hand, reach over and grasp the left elbow, gently pulling it down toward your head feeling the stretch.
Hold for up to 2 minutes and swap arms.

9. Side stretch

Standing up tall with your feet hips width apart, clasp your hand above your head.
Gently lean your body to one side, feeling a deep stretch along the opposite side of your body. Hold this stretch for 10-30 seconds before coming back to centre and repeating on the other side.

10. Childs pose

Start on all fours on the floor, with your hands and knees shoulder and hips width apart.
Tuck your toes under and push your hips back over your knees, so your bottom is resting on the heels of your feet.
Let your arms stretch out long in front of you as you rest your forehead on the floor.
Hold this pose for up to 2 minutes.