Daily Stretches To Keep You Young

Sphinx Pose

Can you remember what it feels like to do a cartwheel? Or a roly-poly down a hill?

Modern life seems to demand long periods of sitting, but it’s not what we were made for. Our bodies are made to move!

Keeping your body feeling young is no joke, but maintaining flexibility of your spine and joints can be the magic ingredient for that elusive youthful feeling. Here are a few stretches I recommend for staying young, both in mind and body.

Sphinx Pose

This pose stretches your lower back, and engages the core muscles that support your lower back.

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight together
  • Place your hands on the floor directly below your shoulder and lift your chest off the floor
  • Make sure your shoulders are not hunched
  • Point your toes if you feel comfortable doing so
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min

Downward Facing Dog

  • Get onto your hands and knees
  • Make sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips
  • Tuck your toes under and raise your knees off the ground.
  • Extend your legs and stretch out your arms, keeping them as straight as possible, while pointing your tailbone towards the ceiling
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min

Tight hamstrings are a common cause for lower back pain.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight
  • Keeping your legs straight, spread them as wide as possible without causing yourself discomfort
  • Lean over your right leg and stretch your hands toward your right toes
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min
  • Repeat on both sides

Gluteus Medius Stretch

Outer thigh muscle stretches can help prevent sciatica in the future.
  • Sit with both your legs straight out in front of you
  • Cross your right leg over your left leg, making sure that your right foot is flat on the floor
  • Place your right hand on the floor behind your body
  • Place your left elbow on the outside of your right quad, while twisting your torso to the right
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min
  • Repeat with both legs

Tricep Stretch

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart and extend both your arms straight out above your head
  • Bend your right elbow to touch the middle or top of your back with your right hand (whichever you can manage)
  • Reach your left arm over and hold your right elbow
  • Pull your right elbow toward your head very gently until you feel the stretch in your tricep
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min
  • Repeat with both arms

Stretching your triceps helps maintain shoulder range of motion in abduction and external rotation.

Upper Trapezius Stretch

  • Sit on a chair or cross-legged as shown in the picture
  • Tilt your head to one side bringing your ear towards your shoulder
  • Rest the hand on the side to which your head is tilting on your head and apply gentle pressure until you feel a stretch in your upper tricep and along the side of your neck
  • Hold for 30 sec – 3 min
  • Repeat both sides

Stretching should feel challenging, but bearable. Don’t bounce into your stretch, rather hold the position where you first feel the stretch for 15 seconds, then gently try to deepen the stretch by slowly moving further into the position. If at any time you feel discomfort from these stretches that is causing you concern, stop and consult a manual therapist or exercise professional for guidance.

Stretching may not make your wrinkles vanish, or prevent your memory from fading, but it sure does help with flexibility, and nothing says “youth” like a flexible body!

Move Well. Live Well.