You may be working out more which is great, but an increase in intensity and frequency also comes with an increase of tightness. This is especially true for runners who can experience runner's tightness, or a tension in the front hip flexor muscles. But did you know you can experience the same type of tightness from inactivity as well? This includes casual exercises or people who simply sit at a desk all day. If you're ready to reset your body and loosen up, try these best stretches to get rid of tightness.
Yes - some of these are yoga stretches. To begin downward dog, start in a high plank position. Then, tuck your toes underneath your feet and push your body upwards, lifting your hips up and back toward the ceiling and lowering your head between the shoulders. Your body should basically form a triangle with the mat. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and you'll instantly feel relief in your hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
Now, move onto your next dog position. To do upward dog, lie face-down on a mat with your palms placed firmly on the ground at about waist-level. You want to keep your shoulders directly over your wrists, your chest forward, and the tops of your feet flat on the ground. When you're ready, push your body up until your torso and legs are hovering a few inches above the floor. Hold this pose for 30 seconds as well, then lower your body to the floor.
This pose is similar to downward dog, however it puts let stress on your wrists. Begin on all fours with your knees placed beneath your hips and your elbows placed beneath your shoulders. Then, curl your toes underneath your feet and push your hips up toward the ceiling, lowering your head between your shoulders. You should essentially be in downward dog, except your forearms are on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and then lower your knees to rest.
One of the best stretches to get rid of tightness on your whole lower body is a forward fold. Start in a standing position with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a deep breath in, then bend forward at the hip as your exhale. Keep folding until your fingertips touch the mat and your head is in front of your knees. If you don’t have that mobility, or your hamstrings are too tight to go that far, simply bring your hands to your shins, your calves, or to the backs of your knees. Hold for 30, then return to the starting position by taking another deep breath in and lifting your torso until you’re standing upright again.
The last stretch is your classic lunge. Begin from a standing position, bending forward and touching the mat with both hands, much like the forward fold. Then, take a large step back with the ball of your right foot, keeping your heel off the ground. If you're having trouble balancing or your muscles or too tight, you can rest your back knee on the mat. Next, lower your body so your left knee is above your ankle, forming a 90-degree angle with the mat. Your torso should be parallel with your left thigh if you're doing this correctly. Again, hold for 30 seconds, then return your right foot to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.