We are almost two weeks into the New Year and I’m sure many of you have been in the gym or doing workouts at home. Today I wanted to share information on something that I’ve learned is extremely important: stretching. Stretching before a workout is one of the best ways to prevent injuries, increase flexibility, balance, and decrease lower back pain. I learned the hard way a few months ago by injuring both shoulders from not stretching and lifting heavier weight in the gym. After letting myself recover, I now make sure to stretch before and after each workout. When stretching, make sure to go slowly and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Do the same stretch on the opposite side of the body equally and focus on each movement to ensure perfect form. Here are some of my favorite stretches to do at home or in the gym before your workout:
1. Head and Neck: Take your right hand and place it towards the top of your head. Lean your head to the right and pull slightly with your hand, until your neck is bent to the side. Hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
2. Shoulder: Take your right arm and extend it in front of you. Next, move your arm all the way over to the left side of your body and hold it in place with your left arm. Hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Chest: Place both hands on a corner portion of a wall and position them shoulder width apart. Lean inward until you feel a deep stretch your chest muscles. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
4. Bicep: Take your right arm and extend it out horizontally until you feel your muscles in your bicep stretch completely. Keep your arm extended for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
5. Hamstring: Lay down flat on a yoga mat for support. Take your right leg, lift it up into the air, and slowly bring it towards you. You will feel your hamstrings start to stretch out with this movement. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
6. Quads: Start off by standing upright. Bring your right foot up and grab it with your right hand. This will allow you to stretch your leg back, triggering your quad. To help with balance, try holding onto a wall or a stable object that’s close by. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
7. Lower Back: Lay down flat on a yoga mat for support. Take both legs and curl them in towards your chin. Hold both legs with your arms to keep them in place and feel your lower back stretch out with this movement. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
How have your New Year’s fitness resolutions been coming along? Coconut oil is extremely beneficial when incorporated into your daily dieting routine. Check out my top 5 uses for coconut oil and working out for helpful tips!