You never really realise how stiff your body is until you do stretches. We are so often exposed to the importance of easy and vigorous exercises we forget that stretching is an important branch of fitness. It is an easy physical activity that usually requires minimum equipment – your limbs, some home appliances and your time.
Stretching loosens your tense muscles, allowing improvement in the blood flow and circulation throughout the whole body.
Furthermore, it enhances your mobility capabilities and improve muscular function. This deters wear and tear on your joints as well as improve your life quality as a whole.
Here are some important stretches that are good for your joints:
#1 – Standing Quadriceps Stretch
- Stand in a straight position
- If you want support, you may hold onto the back of a chair or a wall with your free hand for balance
- Slowly bend your right knee backwards and hold your foot for 20 seconds. If you wish to loosen your muscles more, you may do it for an additional 10 seconds.
- While maintaining that position, you should feel a stretch through the front of your thigh
- Repeat this stretch on the other leg
- If you have difficulty holding your foot with your hand, try using a yoga strap, band or cloth.
#2 – Ankle Circles
- Sit comfortably on a chair. If you wish to do this stretch while standing, you may hold on to a wall for support
- Extend your right leg out in front of you, keeping the other on the floor
- Rotate your right ankle clockwise 15 times
- Proceed with rotating it anti-clockwise 15 times
- Rest your leg and repeat on your opposite leg
#3 – Shoulder & Upper Back Stretch
- Stand straight with a good posture. Have both of your arms by the side
- Reach your arms to your lower back and hold your hands together
- Pull your shoulders back and clasp your fingers together
- When you feel a stretch along your backside, stay in that position for 5 seconds
- If you can go further, push your clasped hands away from your lower back slowly and arc backwards. Do not strain your muscles.
- Return to standing tall, and repeat
#4 – Towel Squeeze (relief for arthritis in the hands)
- Prepare a small rolled up towel or a large sponge
- Squeeze it with both hands. Ensure you feel the stretch in both your forearms
- Hold for 5 seconds then relax
- Repeat this 10 times
Be sure to carry out these stretch routines every day. Gradually, it will increase your flexibility and muscle comfortability.
With these simple exercises, you will be able to train your muscles and joints in assisting your mobility.