Tips to get more flexible

By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi, May 11 (IANSlife): The prolonged lockdown has made staying home the new normal. While gym enthusiasts may feel like this lockdown is going to sabotage their fitness progress, reducing muscle stiffness is one of the first steps towards getting active and healthy at home.

"Late night screen use, irregular sleep and diet habits have a toll on an already-disturbed exercise regime causing body aches. Whether you love or hate it, exercise is something that is going to strengthen your immune system and improve your mental health, which will not only keep you calm during this frightening time but can also protect you from any kind of infections and viruses. Neck, shoulder, back and leg areas should be focused to maintain the much needed flexibility and agility," Dr Girish L. Bhalerao, Consultant Orthopaedic surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals told IANSlife.

Yoga, pilates, tai-chi and stretching are all recommended for improving flexibility. While pilates and yoga concentrate on building strength and flexibility, yoga is generally regarded as having a deeper focus on increasing the range of joint motion. Tai-chi loosens muscles and stretches the whole body. It is especially useful for people with limited mobility, recovering from injury or balance problems as it can be adapted to suit a range of abilities.

Here are a few simple stretching exercises that can be practiced without special equipment from the comfort of basic and humble living space.

Neck stretches

Stretch the sides of the neck for instant relief. You can also try the back neck stretch where you reach both your hands behind your back and hold on to the right wrist with your left hand. Straighten your arms and pull away slightly. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, release and switch sides.

Shoulder stretches

Shoulder rolls and rotations are the best to give relief for tight shoulders. Another exercise that does wonders is the cow-face pose. Straighten your right arm and then bend it behind your head. Move your left arm behind your back while bending your elbow. Try to reach the right fingertips with your left arm and stretch. Repeat with the other hand.

Abdominal stretches

The cobra yoga pose (reclining back-bending asana) is a great stretching exercise that you could try. You can also use an exercise ball to do side bends and spinal stretches.

Glutes stretches

Try the seated spinal twist. Extend your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right heel close to your sit-bone. Place your right arm behind your and place your palms on the floor. Place your left hand on your right knee and gently pull the knee to the left till you feel the pressure. Hold for 30 seconds, release and then repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring stretches

The reclined stretch, forward bend, scissor stretch and the standing hamstring stretch are some exercises that you can try.

As per individual ability, one can also perform crunches, downward dog push ups, surya namaskar, chair triceps dips, Spiderman press-up, squat jumps, plank pose, wall sit and sit ups.


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