Stretching – Exercises and Benefits

When we exercise, we put a lot of stress on our bodies and therefore, increase the chance of injury. Lifting heavy weights and moving our bodies in unnatural positions can put us at high risk. Poor form, picking a weight too heavy or simply taking the wrong step, can take us out of the gym for months. This set back can be seriously frustrating when we’re on track and reaching goals. To reduce the chance of injury during a workout, we recommend starting with a 5–10-minute stretching session.

BENEFITS OF STRETCHING

Stretching comes with a lot of benefits.

The first being, improved mobility and flexibility (if consistent). Flexibility will lead to enhanced performance in physical activity, decrease the risk of injury and will increase muscle blood flow.

Maximising mobility will also help your joints move through their full range of motion. Boosted flexibility will enable your muscles to work most effectively and overall, improve your ability to do daily activities.

Allowing your body to extend and open in a variation of ways can release tension in our joints and muscles, you’re less likely to pull something if it’s been fully stretched out.

Stretching can also help open our bodies internally. Whilst stretching, try focusing on your breathing. An effective breathing technique will improve control over exercises and lower blood pressure, reducing the chance of dizziness or sudden energy loss when weight training. Breathing also helps us completely relax into each stretch, therefore deepening the move and increasing circulation throughout the body.

STRETCHES TO TRY OUT

When it comes to stretching, it’s crucial to stretch out each body part.

  • Neck Rolling = 180 degree bowing head side to side.
  • Rolling of Wrists & Ankles = 360-degree rotations of the Ankles and Wrists clockwise and anti-clockwise. Flex limbs up and down for further stretch.

ARMS

  • Cross Body Pull Over – cross your left arm in front on your chest, directing it to the right and use your right hand to softly pull your arm closer to you – hold for 30 seconds each side.
  • Tricep Stretch – raise your left arm above your head, bend it so your elbow should be facing upwards, use your right arm to gently pull the left arm towards the spine – hold for 30 seconds each side.

BACK

  • Cobra = body on floor, shoulder press to curl the back and look up. Arms should be straight and stomach should be on the floor.
  • Crab = Advanced. Begin laying down on your back, place your arms above your head, hands placed flat to the floor, directly opposite your head. Legs start bent with feet flat on the floor. Use your strength to push your body up, lifting your body and head off the floor to create an arched shape. For a deeper stretch, straighten your legs when up in the crab.

LEGS

  • Box Lunge = both legs face outwards, drop into a deep middle lunge. Alternate arms, one resting on the knee, the other, pushing off the other leg with a straight arm.
  • Alternate Lunges = incrementing positions-start with a high lunge, getting lower each time to deepen the stretch, eventually finishing with a floor lunge – hold each lunge for 30 seconds.
  • Seated Toe Touches = alternate legs, sit up, keep one leg straight and bend the other into you, reach over and touch your toes, aim to get your nose on your knee – hold for 30 seconds then swap sides. Finish with both legs out in front of you, reach over and touch your toes.

+Attend a Yoga class for an ultimate stretch. Focus on flexibility and mobility for 30 minutes to an hour and reap the benefits of this intense session. FYI (you might feel it in the morning but power through and continue your stretching routine for best results).

 

+Want to deepen those stretches? Add the JLL Resistance Bands to your workout. We also recommend using the JLL Foam Roller to stretch tissue, restore flexibility, improve circulation, and relieve muscle pain.

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Lucie Croke

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