5 stretches to improve your posture

Stretches can be a great benefit to your health and well-being, improving your body posture, reducing aches, flexibility and more. Find out everything! Click To Tweet

Stretches or extensions are a kind of exercise that should not be exclusive to sports exercise, but introduced to the routines and daily activities of everyone. At home, work, or at school, stretches work like flexibility workouts, aerobic exercise, and muscle enhancement, that benefit our bodies, and even fight off fatigue.

The explanation is simple: stretching promotes endorphin production, as well as serotonin, which works by providing an overall feeling of well-being, and relieving problems like depression and anxiety.

Learn more about stretching, the importance it has, and its effects on the body.

Importance of stretches

As we’ve mentioned, stretches are important in different contexts and must be executed in distinct ways for each one. Waking up, after so many hours where the body has remained in the same position, it’s important to start the day with 5 to 10 minutes of stretches, in a way that contradicts the natural stiffness of the muscles and joints and increases the blood flow in the muscles.

Go slowly and not push yourself to discomfort, it’s to lightly stretch out the muscles. Furthermore, it improves blood pressure and favours balance and motor coordination.

Both before and after exercising, you should stretch so that you reduce the risk of injury, and in that way, increase sports performance and cool down your muscles so you don’t get a buildup of lactic acid.

At the end of physical activity, it’s recommended to stretch as well, to accelerate recovery and avoid the so-called “Musculotendinous retraction” that may lead to lesions. For successful stretches, it’s important to:

  • Select all the muscles to work on
  • Using the adequate intensity to where you feel and pull but not pain
  • Stretching in the recommended time
  • Control your breathing taking full and deep breaths into the stretches
  • Position your body correctly to not cause injury.

Keep in mind, not stretching makes the muscle/tendon less resistant to injury and less flexible and reactive, which in the long run, may lead to structural injuries, like muscle tears or tendinopathies.

5 stretches to improve your posture

For that matter, even at work, you should stretch, mainly if you have a more sedentary job where sitting or standing for long periods subjects you to bad body postures.

If you usually feel cervical or dorsal pain or muscle tension, you should stretch and do exercises of postural adequacy. It’s suggested to take around 5 minutes to stretch, every two to three hours of work, to sustain healthy muscles and collect important benefits for the body and even improve office productivity.

Better flexibility could:

  • Increase performance skills in physical training
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Aid your joints movements to reach their full range of motion
  • Improve muscle blood flow
  • Enhances muscle effectiveness to work
  • Improve your performance in daily activities.

Types of stretches

Generally, stretches can be done bilaterally, for around 15 minutes, divided into 6 to 12 repetitions, set in one to three series of 15 to 60 seconds, approximately. For starters, you should begin with a slow pace, stretching sections of your body advisable to focus on one joint at a time.

As rushing and trying to combine multiple joints in reduced movements will increase the likelihood of not stretching properly and risking potential injury. Once the individual focus has been applied to the joints and they have been stretched adequately or if you frequently stretch the possibility of combining stretches of various joints at the same time is more suitable.

There are, still, different types of stretches that should be set in motion, before or after any workout, according to your characteristics. What’s more, it’s convenient to note that the type of stretches done can vary depending on which muscles are worked on the most, or the ones more susceptible to an injury in each sports activity.

Regardless of the more or less stretched muscles, you mustn’t forget any of the following parts of the body, such as: cervical, shoulders, forearms, torso, hips, knees and ankles.

Dynamic or active stretches

Generally, these stretches should be applied before any sports activity to activate muscles and joints that will adapt to increased physical effort, blood flow, cardiac frequency, and nervous system function. It’s recommended to stretch and rotate the shoulders, hips, and torso and mini-squats or lunges.

Static stretches

In this case, stretching will concentrate on a specific muscle, which aims to reduce the nervous system activation because it relaxes the muscles and slows blood flow down while stretching to the fullest for a few seconds.

For that reason, this type of stretching is advisable at the end of the training, as it reduces muscle pain risk and musculotendinous retraction (injury). Some examples of this stretch are quadriceps (knee flexion) and hamstrings (touching feet with hands).

Passive stretches

Whenever possible, this is one type of stretch that should be accounted for. However, it requires the help of a third party, who should do so by increasing the articular magnitude of the limb.

Stretches using techniques of neuromuscular facilitation

In this case, we propose a contraction of a specific muscle group by targeting areas with specific exercises followed by a stretch focusing on that area. Segmenting a muscle group increases the availability of stretching, strengthening and motion of the muscles.

5 stretches to improve your posture

Examples of stretches: step by step

Remember for all of the suggested stretches, you need to take deep and relaxed breaths, it can even be an opportunity to practise meditation to relax  your mind alongside your body.

Step 1

  1. Start by lying down on your back on the mattress or solid flat surface (depending on the strength and comfort of your back)
  2. Bend both legs to your chest and “hug them”
  3. Optionally move your waist from side to side rocking your knees, do not force the motion allow it to be a relaxed motion
  4. Stay in this position for 15 to 30 seconds
  5. Stretch the legs completely straight and pointing the toes
  6. Repeat this stretch twice.

Step 2

  1. Remaining lying down on a flat surface, release your open your arms
  2. Raise one knee to your chest (or where the muscle feels slightly pulled), keeping the other leg straight
  3. Turn your knee to the right side of your body and turn your head to the left.
  4. Keep this position for 15 seconds
  5. Slowly raise your knees and centre your head
  6. Keep switching knees and sides of the neck
  7. Repeat the movement four times, two for each side.

Step 3

  1. Make sure you’re in a comfortable lying position with cushioning below
  2. Bend your legs to where the soles of your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are facing upwards.
  3. Bring your hands so they are flat on the ground above your head or wrap them around your ankle depending on your flexibility.
  4. Slowly, start pushing the spine upwards, until you’re supported by only your feet, arms, and legs
  5. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  6. Slowly lay the spine back flat
  7. Repeat the stretch twice.

Step 4

  1. Lying on your back and raising one leg straight, stretching your knee to the fullest
  2. Then, place a towel or a cloth over the front of the foot and hold each side pulling it into you, for 15 to 30 seconds
  3. Repeat the exercise 3 times, for each leg.

Step 5

  1. Sit on a solid but comfortable surface with a straight spine and raise your arms, to where the hands meet and hold them
  2. Slowly lean your abdominal to the side
  3. Hold that position for 15 seconds to 30 seconds
  4. Now, lean to the other side
  5. Repeat the exercise four times.

To feel the benefits of these stretches, try paying attention to your posture when sitting down, at the table, office desk, car, or couch at home. If you feel there are more severe issues or chronic pain, seek the guidance of a specialist to help you with the best therapeutic.


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