Do you love the way it feels when you stretch after waking up in the morning? There are several reasons why it feels so good to stretch. Our bodies can greatly benefit from stretching, and everyone should include stretching exercises into their daily routines, and as part of their workout plans. Stretching can relieve a lot of soreness that comes from working out, but it can also do so much more for your body. It helps you to remain flexible and have a good range of motion, improves the posture, and helps to reduce the risk of injuries, especially during workouts or sports activities.
Stretching for Mobility, Flexibility, and Strength
These common upper body stretches are all easy to do, and you can include them in your workout routine, do them in the morning, or any other time when you feel like you need to stretch those muscles. It is a good idea to get into the habit of taking regular five-minute stretch breaks while you are at work. Taking these breaks will make you feel refreshed, and you will actually get more work done.
Let’s start off with triceps stretches. It is important to include stretches for these muscles in your routine. A good stretching exercise for the triceps is to stand straight, with your feet at shoulder-width. Reach your left arm over your head, with the palm facing the center of your back. Grab your left elbow with your right hand, and press down on the elbow until you feel a mild stretch in the triceps muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other arm.
The next muscle we are going to work on is the biceps muscle. One of the best ways to stretch this muscle is to do a doorway biceps stretch. This is easy. All you have to do is stand in a door way, making sure that your left side is facing the doorway. Rest your palm and forearm against the front of the wall. With your arm against the wall, slowly twist your torso to the right. When you begin to feel a slight stretching in your arm, stop, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Upper Arm Stretches
Now we are going to take a look at stretching the upper arms. This is actually another biceps stretch. Stand a couple of feet away from a wall, with your legs close together. Face away from the wall, and bend over a bit, so your arms are extended straight in back of you. Place your palms against the wall, fingers pointing upwards. Slowly begin to squat, keeping your hands on the wall the entire time. Continue squatting until you feel the stretch in your upper arms, and hold this position for 30 seconds.
Abdominal Muscle Stretches
When stretching the upper body, you also need to stretch the abdominal muscles. The cobra stretch is ideal, because it not only stretches the abdominal muscles, but also the muscles in your lower back. To do this stretch, lie on the floor, flat on your stomach, with your legs straight behind you, feet together, and toes pointed. Place the palms of your hands flat on the floor, beside your chest. Exhale, and use your hands to push your torso upwards, keeping the rest of your body flat on the floor. Hold the shoulders back, and then hold the position for 30 seconds before lowering your torso back to the floor.
Finally, we get to the abs muscles. To do this stretch, begin in a kneeling position, with your torso straight and your hands placed on the back of your hips. Keeping the lower part of the body in place, begin to lean the torso back (arch your back) until you feel the abs beginning to stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and release.
Benefits of Upper Body Stretches and Stretching in General
It is so important to make sure that you incorporate stretching into your daily routine, and even more important that you do stretching exercises before working out, in order to avoid muscle strain and other injuries. It is also important to stretch following a workout, for the same reasons. There are several health benefits that come from stretching, including the following:
- Better Flexibility – The more you stretch, the more flexible you are going to be. Think about yoga. Most people who practice yoga are extremely flexible. What is yoga? It is basically a series of stretching exercises that help to keep the body strong and flexible.
- Better Range of Motion – When your joints are well-stretched, you will have a better range of motion. This is going to help to reduce the risk of falls, and of being injured if you do fall. The older you get, the more important it is to keep up with your stretching exercises.
- Relieve Stress – Another reason why people do yoga is because it can help them to relieve stress. This is because stretching is a great stress reliever, helping to relax the tense muscles in your body that often are caused by stress.
- Better Circulation – When you are doing regular stretching exercises, you are helping to increase the flow of blood to your muscles. This in turn helps to improve your circulation, and reduces the healing time for muscle injuries.
- Better Posture – Stretching keeps the muscles nice and loose, and keeps them from tightening up. This is going to help you to have better posture, because you will be standing straighter. It will also reduce a lot of aches and pains, especially in the neck and lower back.
There are few things that feel better than stretching, and the more you do it, the more your body is going to thank you for it. Stretching can help to prevent a lot of health problems, as well as help to heal injuries faster. Make sure that you do stretching exercises each morning, before and after every workout, and before going to bed at night.