Have you ever watched a cat move? They’re so quick, agile, and flexible. Then you try to pick something up off of the ground and you realize you can’t even touch your toes. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to work on your flexibility. These stretching exercises will make you just as flexible as a cat, and in turn, improve the quality of your daily life.
10 Stretching Exercises for Improved Flexibility
Flexibility and mobility are important parts of fitness that have a massive impact on our health if we lose them. This is why it is important to always work to improve. These stretching exercises are some of the best for keeping your spine, hips, and muscles flexible and feeling great.
1. The Cat-Cow
- Get down on all fours with your hands stacked below your shoulders and your knees stacked below your hips.
- Slowly drop your stomach towards the floor while simultaneously lifting your tailbone and head towards the ceiling.
- Slowly bend your spine and push it upwards towards the ceiling, tucking your chin and tailbone down.
- Continue to flow through this pattern, breathing throughout the entire stretch.
2. Back Extension
This stretch in Yoga is known as the Cobra and the Upward Dog.
- Start lying face down on the ground.
- With your stomach on the floor, come up first onto your elbows.
- Put your hands in the push-up position and gently push yourself further upwards, lifting your hips off of the ground.
- Hold and breathe.
This position both stretches the spine and strengthens the muscles that support it.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Squeeze your glutes and core and lift your hips into the air.
- Hold while breathing, release, and repeat.
4. Side Angle Stretch
- Stand with your feet about five feet apart with your arms extended out beside you.
- Leaning to the right, bend your right knee and place your elbow on your right knee.
- Slowly extend your left arm above your head to make a straight line from your left foot the tips of your left fingers.
- Hold the position and breath. When you are ready, slowly come back to center and repeat on the left side.
5. Extended Puppy
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
- Slowly walk your hands forward and lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your arms off of the floor.
- Hold and continue breathing, then gently return to the starting position and repeat.
6. Side Lunge
- Stand with your feet twice the width of your shoulders.
- Transfer your weight to your right side and bend your right knee.
- Hold the lunge position, then return to center. Repeat on the left side.
7. Seated Hamstring Stretch
- Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended out in front of you.
- Extend your arms forward, leaning from your hips. Reach as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.
- Hold and continue to breath. Return to neutral and repeat.
8. Single-leg Hamstring Stretch
- Sit on the floor with one leg extended straight and the other bent with your foot tucked in against your inner thigh.
- Extend your arms upward, then bend at your waist and reach out over the straight leg.
- Hold and breath, then repeat on the other side.
9. Seated Saddle
- In the seated position, extend your legs out as far as you can on either side of your body.
- Extend your arms forward, hinging at your waist, reaching as far as you can.
- Hold and breath, return to neutral, and repeat.
10. Seated Spinal Twist
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and place it over your left leg, with your right foot on the ground next to your left leg.
- With your back straight and core engaged, twist your torso to the right. You can either hug your knee, place your elbow on the outside of your right knee and look out behind you. This depends on your flexibility.
- Hold and breath, return to neutral, and switch to the other side.
Other Stretching Exercise Details
How long you hold each position for, how many repetitions you do, and how often your stretch is entirely up to you. The important thing is to do what feels good, and back off if ever anything is painful.
If you do these stretching exercises regularly, day by day your flexibility and mobility will improve.
Keep Reading: 10 Stretches to Relax Your Spine After a Hard Day
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