Fitness icon Denise Austin shares feel-good flexibility moves that relieve stress, lengthen your muscles, and rejuvenate your body in five minutes!
Some of us think stretching isn’t ‘exercise’, but it’s just as important a part of being fit as any cardio routine. Stretching exercises help you stay limber, but they also help you ward off anxiety and stress that can get in the way of your inner peace. Are you ready to relieve stress and get some serenity? Keep reading.
Side stretch lengthens spine.
Stand with your feet apart, arms reaching overhead, holding a stability ball (Buy from Amazon, $19.98), if you are using one. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Bend to the left, keeping your chest open, and hold for a count of five. Return to standing, then bend to the right. Repeat the sequence for 1 minute.
Upper-back stretch relives shoulder tension.
Stand with your arms straight out, perpendicular to the floor, holding the ball (if using) at chest level. Imagine bringing your navel in toward your spine and curl your upper back, keeping your arms by your ears as you do so. Return to standing. Repeat the sequence for 1 minute.
Triangle pose stretches side, chest and inner thighs.
Stand with feet wide. Place the ball (if using) underneath your left thigh. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees; slide your right heel back slightly. Extend your arms from your shoulders. Lean left, sliding your left hand down your leg as you bend. Extend your right hand toward the ceiling and look up. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on the other side.
Hamstring stretch stretches back of thighs.
Sit on the ball (or floor) with your legs spread apart in a wide V shape. Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back flat, and reach for the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Walk your hands to your left foot; hold for 30 seconds. Then walk your hands to your right foot; hold for 30 seconds. Return to the center and rise.
Thigh stretch lengthens front of thighs.
Stand with your right hand on the ball (or a chair). Bend your left knee and hold your foot in your left hand. Gently pull your knee toward your hips. Hold for 30 seconds; release and repeat on the other side.
Now. Doesn’t that feel better?
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.