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We often neglect the things that are the most important. Stretching for one. It is one of the most fundamental components of daily exercise routine, but many people choose not to do it. Primarily because it is such a slow and boring process!!!! But the best thing about it is you do not need any equipment to do it! You can pretty much do it anywhere!!! In front of TV, in a bedroom, in a living room, in a gym, out in a park or when talking to a friend or even while supervising your kids doing homework!
Stretching flexes the joints, muscles and makes your body supple. It also increases flexibility in day to day routine tasks which involves bending from waist, lifting heavy objects, pulling things up or pushing objects down. It lessens the risk of your body getting injured by pulled or stretched muscle.
Stretching should be done after your body is warmed up and my best experience tells me that it should be done after you finish your cardio training or weight lifting session. The advantage is that your body is already warmed up, the muscles are pretty much relaxed or wanting to be relaxed and it’s almost a foolproof way to avoid injury due to stretching.
Again one thing to remember here; too much of a good thing can also lead to bad thing. The rule applies here very well. If you are novice to stretching, start very slowly and only stretch to your comfort level. If you go too much beyond that, hoping a crazy idea that lengthening the muscle is going to shift my fat cells; you will risk pulling a muscle, which is so not we want. You do not want moan in agony next day that you can’t walk or totally give up stretching.
Start with neck first. Allow your head to slowly sideway to one of your shoulders….stop when you reach a point that you cannot stretch comfortably any more, then rotate your head backwards to next side of the shoulders and then to the front, slowly drooping the head till you feel stretch on the upper part of your neck. This is one repetition. Ideally do up to 5 or more per body part.
Next move on to shoulders. Hang your arms loosely on the sides. As if doing a shrug movement, rotate your shoulders clockwise about 5 times and then anti clockwise for another 5 times….Do the same with your wrists. Fist your fingers and rotate your wrist clockwise and anticlockwise. You should feel your upper body relaxed with these simple stretch movements.
Next stretch your chest muscles and back muscles. These will also stretch your arms.
What I do is interlock my fingers and bring my arms all the way to the front and fully stretch them out. I start to hunch my upper back and feel as if somebody is trying to pull me towards him. Only I stand firmly in my place. This way the entire upper back and arms are stretched beautifully and I usually hold the stretch for a good count of 10 and then slowly relax back to my normal self. For chest muscles it pretty much the same, except that I interlock my fingers behind my back and stretch them all the way, trying to be perpendicular to my neck, Of course that’s not going to happen, I’ll probably stop myself halfway or even lower, as that where I am most comfortable and then I try to push back my shoulders, so that chest opens up and I can feel the muscles stretching. Again I try to hold a good old count of 10 and then slowly relax back to normal position. It totally frees my upper body of the stiffness and makes me feel so good.
Similarly, lower body stretching consists stretching muscles of lower back, obliques, thighs, quads and calves. This will warrant entirely different article with explanations and more pictures and videos. Once again, exercise with care and caution. Thanks you all for reading my article….I hope you like it enough to start stretching!
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