A simple daily stretching routine from a professor of physical therapy at New York University.
These stretches will help prevent muscle stiffness, increase flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury. Do them every day. If you are sedentary, do them several times a day.
Do not exercise if you are in pain or have problems with your musculoskeletal system.
You need to get into the right position before you start stretching
First, sit on a firm surface. Shift your body weight to your sciatic bones so that your spine is in its natural position. Pull your chin back and down so that your neck is in line with your back.
1. Stretching the neck
Turn your head to the right and hold for 30-60 seconds. Return your head to the original position and turn to the other side.
2. Head tilt
Tilt your head to the right. Place your right hand on the left side of your head next to your ear and gently squeeze. Pull your left hand down toward the floor. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
3. Rotations of the trunk
Cross your arms over your chest. Turn your body and head to look behind your right shoulder. The pelvis stays in place and does not move. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds and repeat to the other side.
4. Back stretching
Place palms on knees. Arch your back slightly. A slight bend is enough to stretch tight muscles. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
5. Side-to-side bends
Raise right arm. Lean to the left while extending the right side of your body. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. Forward Bend
Bend forward and place belly on knees. Arms hang free, neck straight. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
7. Triceps and shoulder stretches
Raise right elbow above head and place forearm behind back, palm on shoulder blade in front of center of back. Place left hand behind back at waist level. Elbow pressed against waist, forearm extended along back, palm facing out. If possible, connect the fingers of both hands. Hold for 30-60 seconds and switch hands.
8. Stretch the quadriceps
Stand upright. Bend your right knee and grasp the toe with your right hand, pressing the heel against your buttock. Don’t push your right hip too far forward; it should be about level with your left hip. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30-60 seconds, holding onto a wall or the back of a chair if you lose your balance. Repeat with the opposite leg.
9. Stretching the lower leg muscles
Walk up to the wall and place your palms against it. Place your right foot against the wall with the toe against the wall. Step back with your left leg. Bend the knee of your right leg and pull it toward the wall. Your left leg will stay straight with the heel pressed to the floor. You should feel your left leg muscles stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
10. Stretch the hip flexor muscles
Lie on your back on the floor, legs straight. Bring your right knee up to your chest, place your hands on it and pull it closer. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.
11. Back Thigh Stretch
Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your left leg at the knee and place the foot on the floor. Straighten your right leg and raise it. The angle between your hip and your body should be 90 degrees or less. If you have an extended loop, place the loop on your leg and pull it closer to your body. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
12. Chest Muscle Stretch
Lie supine on floor. Lift and bend left leg at the knee. Place the ankle of the right foot on the knee of the left foot. Pull your left knee closer to your body, feeling the stretch in your right gluteal muscle. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Simple chair stretches can be done right at your desk every two to three hours, and floor exercises can be left for home practice.
Keep reading: 18 Exercises That Show You Exactly What Muscles You Are Stretching