10 Quick Stretches Your Body Will Thank You For
Exercise can seem scary, especially when it comes to finding the time to do it, but there are ways to make it fun and easy. There are a lot of simple stretches that people can do while in the comfort of their own home, even while in a chair or bed, that can help promote fat loss or increase metabolism.
1. The standing forward bend
Stand with your feet apart and slightly bend your knees. Move forward at your hips so that your upper body hangs over the legs while keeping your knees straight. Next, hold out your arms, placing your hands past your feet. After holding for 4 breaths, pull in your abs and round your back all at once. Do this 3 times in total.
2. The lying twist
Lie on your back and extend your arms out to the side. Lift up your legs using your knees and then lower them to one side until your thigh touches the floor. Raise your legs again and repeat for the opposite side.
3. The boat pose
First, sit down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground with your hands resting at your hips. While keeping your back straight, lift up your feet and extend your arms forward. Balance yourself on your sitting bones and lengthen your front torso. Breathe and straighten out your legs so that you make a “V” shape. Stay in this pose for about 5 breaths, all the while spreading your shoulder blades.
4. The chair pose
Despite the name, you don’t really need to do this using a chair. Stand up with your feet apart, breathe, and raise your arms over your head. If you are sitting on a chair or leaning forward, your torso should lean forward over the thighs. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Return to the starting position and switch sides.
5. The standing side stretch
Clasp your hands, stretching the pointer fingers. Keep them over your head and reach forward. Breathe in and out while bending your body to the right. Breathe in slowly 5 times and repeat the exercise in the opposite direction.
6. The cat and cow
Keep your knees and hands on the ground directly under the hips and shoulders, respectively. Pull in your abs as you breathe and arch your back, mimicking a cat stretch. Return to the original pose and bend the upper part of your spine. Straighten out your neck and repeat to the starting position. Perform this again 4 more times.
7. The abdominal twist
Sit on the floor or on a base with your legs straight out. Tuck your left leg so that your heel touches your bottom. Either keep your legs out but slightly bent or cross your right leg over your left. Now, twist your body to the right and place your left elbow to the outside of your knee. Place your right hand on the floor so that you can look over the right shoulder. Take a deep breath and hold this position for a minute. Release the stretch and repeat with the opposite side.
8. The bridge
Lie on the floor and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat. Breathe and push your tailbone up while on the floor, creating a bridge-like shape. Keep your knees directly above the heels, pushing them forward. Keep your muscles firm and broaden your arms. Stay in this pose for about a minute.
9. The cobra
This exercise helps to make your ab muscles stronger. Lie down on your stomach, evoking a snake, then allow your forehead to touch the ground. Stretch out your legs while keeping your palms on the floor. Breathe slowly and raise your chest up. Next, try to bend yourself backward. Hold this position for around 30 seconds and exhale, turning back to the original position. Repeat this exercise 5 times.
10. The down dog split
Put yourself in a push-up position. Lift your hips and press your heels to the floor, and similar to the bottom facing dog pose, keep yourself elevated. Lift your right leg back and upward with your right foot flexed. Hold the position as if you were pressed against a wall. Open your hips and bend the knee. Breathe and straighten the leg. Center your hips toward the floor. Release and put the foot back on the floor. Repeat with the left side.
Bonus: Remember, taking it slow helps to burn fat!
It is important to understand just how your body works. When exercising, you can get energy from carbohydrates and protein, and where you get it from depends on the exercise you use. During higher-intensity exercises, you will normally get energy from carbs. During long, slower exercises, you normally draw energy from fat. In other words, pacing yourself when exercising isn’t just a convenience, it can help you in the long run.