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This Month In Body
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  • Watch Your Back!
    Do you suffer from lower back pain? You may be tempted to rest until your pain is gone, but that may only make things worse. If your back is sore, remember this list of good and bad exercises for back pain. Read >>
  • Get Your Stretch On!

    If your body could use a little more flexibility, try this basic full-body stretch routine.

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Health and Fitness News

Get Your Stretch On!

Want optimal health? You better stretch. Those who do have an increased range of motion, improved performance, fewer tension headaches, better posture, less back pain, and more flexibility. As an added perk, stretching—like all types of exercise—is a great way to relieve stress.

Dynamic stretches are recommended before you work out. These stretches include active movements to warm up your muscles and increase their range of motion. Static stretches, on the other hand, are best done when your muscles are already warm. They’re commonly performed after your post-workout cool down period. To do static stretches, you stretch a muscle to its limit and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Each stretch focuses on a single muscle.

Want to reap the benefits of stretching? Starting with your calves and working your way up, here is a full-body static stretch routine to give a try.

Calves

To stretch the muscle along the back of your lower leg, place your left foot two to three feet in front of your right foot. With your right leg straight, bend your left knee to feel a stretch in the calf of your right leg. Keep both feet flat on the floor during this stretch. Swap legs and repeat.

Quadriceps

Your quads are large muscles that run along the front of your thigh. To stretch them effectively, stand on your left foot and bend your right knee so your knee points downward. With your right hand, pull your right foot toward your butt. Hold onto a wall or the back of a chair for balance if needed. Switch legs and repeat.

Hamstrings and Lower Back

This exercise stretches your hamstring (the muscle that runs along the back of your thigh) and your lower back. Sit on the floor and stretch your right leg out in front of you. Bend your left knee so your left foot rests against your right inner thigh. Lean over and reach both hands toward your right toes. If you can’t touch your toes, that’s okay. Hold and switch legs.

Glutes

The seated twist will stretch your glutes, also known as your butt muscles. Sit on the floor and extend both legs straight in front of you. Bring your right foot over your left leg and put your right foot on the floor next to the outside of your left knee. Twist your upper body to the right, pressing your right knee with your left arm. Hold and switch sides.

Chest

From a standing or sitting position, interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head. Gently press your elbows backward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. You should feel a good stretch across your chest.

Shoulders and Triceps

To stretch your shoulders and triceps (the muscles along the back of your upper arm), extend your right arm toward your left side and use your left hand to gently press your right arm against your upper chest. Hold and switch arms.

Biceps

Your biceps are the muscle along the front of your upper arm. To stretch both at once, interlock your fingers behind your back with your palms facing inward. Now, rotate your hands so your palms face the floor and slowly raise your arms until you feel your biceps stretch.

Neck

Start by stretching your neck forward and backward. Lower your chin down toward your chest for a few seconds and then look up and raise your chin toward the ceiling. Repeat. Next, stretch from side to side. Lower your left ear down toward your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds and then lower your right ear down toward your left shoulder. Repeat.