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Stretching Exercises to Increase Flexibility and Mobility

Doing regular stretching exercises will make you steadily more elastic, flexible and mobile, and hinder you from getting physically rigid and stiff as you get older. Here are some principles for good stretching exercises:

– Take a thorough stretching session at least every second day. During this session you should stretch out all parts of your body: Your arms, neck, torso, pelvic area and legs.

– It is an old principle to stretch out after other types of training. This principle has been questioned in the last years. If you feel this is the best time to stretch out, then do so. If not, wait until you are less tired and do the stretching as a separate session.

– It is probably best for many to have a short stretching session after muscular training and a longer stretching session at a separate time every second day.

– When stretching out, you should bend or twist in the natural movement directions and movement angles for each body part, and for each body part you should flex in every natural direction.

– It is good to begin the stretching session with some active exercises with moderate stretching effect to make your muscles and joints warm. You swing, bend, twist and roll back and forth with your arms, legs, shoulders, torso and pelvic region so that every movement gives a moderate stretching effect.

– Then you do slow exercises with a stronger stretching effect. You swing, bend or twist each limb and your torso until you feel resistance and a little more so that you feel the stretch and then hold the stretch in 30-50 seconds. You can make this stretching even more effective by doing it together with a friend and helping each other. Repeat each stretch at least 3 times with a pause between.

– When beginning a slow stretch it is advisable first to empty your lungs completely for air, and then breath deeply in when you move into the stretched position. When holding the stretch you breath effectively, but in a calm manner. In this way the exercise will also benefit your chest wall, lungs and diaphragm.

You can find descriptions of many exact exercises in specific books or web-pages. Classical hatha-yoga-exercises are a type of slow stretching exercises with a profound beneficial effect on the whole body. But you can also use your creativity and compose exercises that specifically fit you, as long as you use the principles listed above, and you can improvise during each session. Here are however some specific tips for exercises.

SOME TIPS FOR THE RAPID STRETCHING EXERCISES

– Stand straight. First swing your straight arms forward up over your head so that you feel it stretches well. Swing them back to point straight forward and then swing them straight out to each side so that you again feel it stretches. Repeat these swings 5-10 times without pause.

– Stand straight. Then bend your body forward while pointing your fingers towards your toes. Try to reach as long as possible downward with your hands so that you feel it stretches gently at the backside of your legs. Then rise up again. Do this 5-10 times without pausing.

– Sit on the floor upon a carpet. Support your torso with your hands at the floor behind you. Flex your legs up and put the soles of your feet at the floor. Then swing down your legs to each side so that you feel it stretches gently at the inner sides of your thighs and then fold your legs together against. Do this 10-15 times without pause.

– Stand on the floor. Then swing your right leg out to the side so that it stretches. Swing it back again and swing the left leg out to the side. Repeat this 5-10 times. You can make this exercise a little more advanced by bending towards the leg when it is swung out and reach at your toes with your fingers.

– Stand straight and hold your hands folded upon your head while trying to have your elbows as long back as possible. Then bend your torso and neck down to the right and then back and to the left. Do it 5-10 times so that you feel a gentle stretch each time.

– Sit straight on a chair with your arms down at the side. Flex your torso and neck in a bow backward do that your belly protrudes forward. Then flex your torso and neck the other way forward, both times so you feel a gentle stretch. Try to get your head as near your lap as possible. Do this 5-10 times.

– Sit straight on a chair. Twist your torso and your neck to the right as far as possible, and then twist the other way, both times so you feel a gentle stretch in your neck and in your torso. You can make the stretch more effective by holding your hands around your knees and pushing. Do it 10-15 times without pausing.

SOME TIPS FOR THE SLOW STRETCHING EXERCISES

– Stand as straight as possible. First swing your straight arms forward up over your head and behind your head if possible. Hold the stretch. Then swing your arms down before you until they point straight forward, and the swing them backward straight out to each side. Again try to get as long back with your arms as possible and hold the stretch. Then relax letting your arms hang down again.

You can make this exercise more effective by standing in a door opening, and pushing towards the rims of the door opening with your arms or your elbows.

– Stand straight and hold your hands folded upon your head while trying to have your elbows as long back as possible. Then bend your torso and neck down to the right and hold the stretch. Then bend the opposite way down to the left and hold the stretch before straightening up again.

– Stand straight. Then bend your body forward while pointing your fingers towards tour toes. Try to reach as long as possible downward with your hands so that you feel it stretches well at the backside of your legs. Hold the position some time while keeping an effective stretch, then rise slowly up again.

– Sit on the floor upon a carpet and support yourself with your arms behind you. Flex your legs up and your knees towards you. Then swing down your feet to each side. Move your hands forward and grip around your feet and then push down upon your legs with your elbows so that you feel it stretches at the inner sides of your thighs. Hold the position some time while keeping the stretch.

– Stand with split legs, with a stool before you. Bend down a little and set your hands upon the stool. Then separate gradually your legs further from each other as far as it goes so it stretches between your legs, while supporting your body with your hands at the stool. This may be somewhat difficult, but it will work by twisting movements of your feet. Then bend slowly forward so that your torso approaches a perpendicular position. Stretch well in that position. Then slowly rise and slowly take your legs together again. This exercise is a little difficult and a little risky, so use some caution when doing it.

– The best way to stretch your legs out to each side is however to lay on your back on the floor and let a friend split your legs apart so that it stretches, and then let your friend rise your legs so that they point up and stretch them to the sides before moving them together again and laying them down.

– Sit on a chair or on a carpet on the floor. Flex your torso and neck in a bow backward so that your belly protrudes forward. To make the stretch more effective you can hold your hands around your knees and pull with your arms. Hold the stretch some time.

Then flex your torso and neck the other way forward. Try to get your head as near your lap as possible. Hold the stretch some while before straightening your torso up again. This time you can make the stretch more effective by folding your hands behind your neck and pulling downward.

– Sit straight on a chair. Twist your torso and neck to the right as far as possible. Hold the stretch. Then twist the other way and hold the stretch. You can make the stretch more effective by holding your hands around the knee at the same side and pushing.

Knut Holt is an internet marketer interested in the health field. To read more about health topics and to find natural products for treatment of problems in the muscles, joints, windpipe, stomach, nervous system, circulation and hormonal system, please see his web-site.

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