Some days, it takes all your mental effort to just fit in a quick workout. I know there have been busy days when all I wanted to do after my workout was start cleaning up for the work day ahead of me, skipping a much-needed stretch and cool down. But, not only can you reduce muscle soreness with stretching so it doesn’t distract you during the day, but a post-workout stretch is a great way to maximize your overall flexibility.
6 Quick and Easy Stretches
When you’re pressed for time (or motivation), here are 6 simple stretches you can whip out in a hurry. I picked stretches which are easy to do, but you don’t even have to do them for very long. According to one study, the researchers did not observe any flexibility difference between stretches which were held for 15 seconds compared to stretches held for 120 seconds. So, you can choose to just spend 15-30 seconds holding each one of these six stretches before moving on with your day!
1. Calf Stretch
To help loosen up your calves and hip flexor, try out the calf stretch. The angle achieved by the extended leg is key to performing this stretch properly. Be sure that the leg which is not actively engaged in the calf stretch does not bend beyond 90-degrees at the knee, as this can overextend the knee.
For those looking to make this move more advanced, sink deeper into the calf stretch until it becomes almost a lunge. Be careful to maintain the proper 90-degree angle on your non-stretch leg as you go deeper into the stretch.
2. Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Target your quadriceps, as well as your hip flexors and upper body with the standing quadriceps stretch. To help stave off shin splints, point your foot as you hold the stretch. This movement will help engage more muscles and make it more worth your time.
If you want to bring up the difficulty of this stretch, you can hinge forward at the hips while still maintaining the stretch. Bend down until your body creates a 90-degree angle. You may need to free up one hand to help you balance.
3. Lunge With Spinal Twist
Whole body engagement can be achieved with this stretch as you drop your body into the lunge position and twist while extending your arms. These movements work to stretch your upper body, engage your core, and improve your leg extension.
You can raise the difficulty of this stretch by bringing your arms toward your chest and placing them palm-to-palm. While this does reduce your upper body engagement, it will cause your body to work harder to keep you steady as you stretch.
4. Side Bend
This basic stretch is good to help release tight muscles in the upper back and arms. The stretch also lightly engages core muscles. For those who want to be more active at work, the side bend allowing your back to release tension, so you don’t slump back into bad posture habits.
If you are in a place which allows it, raise the leg which is opposite of the direction you are bending. This movement will force your body to balance and allow for more muscles to stretch out. Start slowly as it can be easy to overbalance while doing this modification.
5. Standing Forward Bend
By doing the standing forward bend stretch, you will be able to stretch your hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves all in one simple movement. If you struggle with flexibility, place your hand on the tops of your legs and lightly brace yourself against your legs as you stretch.
In terms of motion, the standing forward bend is a simple stretch. Many people struggle with this stretch as it requires a high amount of flexibility. Your main difficulty will be bringing your upper body closer to your legs.
6. Chest Stretch
Another good one for those working at a desk is the chest stretch. You can either clasp your hands with your palms together or with your palms facing outward. Both of these hand clasps will change the focus on what is stretched in your forearms but will stretch out your chest and shoulders no matter what hand clasp you choose to do.
If you are in an area which allows for more exaggerated stretching, bend at the hips while performing this stretch. It will help loosen the hip flexors and will enable you to deepen the chest stretch safely.
I hope now that you have seen how easy these stretches are and what they can do for you that you will add the stretches to your workout routine. These have helped me keep from stiffening up at work after my runs, and the stretches can be done with just a few minutes of effort.