Just as there are numerous options for muscle-strengthening exercises, the same is true for flexibility. The great thing about starting a flexibility program is that there is no harm in starting with the recommended levels. Remember to stretch every major muscle group and to hold each stretch for 15 seconds up to a minute.
As a beginner, the most challenging part of flexibility will be finding time to add it in. It is recommended to do each exercise four times or more, which may be overwhelming at first. So starting out, you may want to begin with one or two, and then as you find ways to fit this into your schedule, gradually add additional repetitions.
Upper Back and Chest Stretch
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your chest lifted and your head looking forward.
- Raise your hands and place them behind your ears.
- Move your elbows out to your side and push them back, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- When you bring your elbows back, in order to feel the stretch, your fingertips may be the only part of your hand touching behind your ears.
- Keep bringing them back until you feel a stretch in your chest and hold for 15 to 60 seconds.
- Keep your hands at your ears and bring your elbows forward and try to touch them in front of your head.
- Hold this part of the stretch for 15 to 60 seconds.
- When you bring your elbows forward, you may need to slightly round your shoulders to feel the stretch in your upper back.
- Do not pull on your head. It should remain in a neutral position the entire stretch.
Head to Shoulder Neck Stretch
- Hold your head in a comfortable position with eyes looking forward.
- Slowly tilt your head to the left side. Lower your ear to your shoulder to stretch muscles on the right side of your neck.
- Hold this stretch for 15 to 60 seconds.
- To get a little extra stretch, place your fingers from your left hand on the right side of the head by your temple and gently apply pressure.
- Repeat this stretch while tilting your head to the right.