Do you need a little holiday healing? Weeks one, two and three of our monthlong "November to Remember" fitness plan focused on establishing healthy habits and identifying the toning tools and tricks necessary for successfully implementing a new wellness routine.
This week we will conclude our total-body conditioning crash course with a form of exercise that receives very little attention — stretching. Muscles and joints require a solid stretching program in order to reach their full range of motion and to avoid injuries from muscular imbalances.
Here are the top stretches to relieve tired, achy muscles and improve flexibility.
Child's pose. Whether you are just waking up, or want to unwind from a long day, the child's pose is one of the most relaxing and effective positions for melting stress away from the body. This stretch addresses tight muscles in the shoulders, back, and hips.
Sumo squat twist. If you experience tension in the upper portion of your back and spine, this stretch will help alleviate stress and strain. Those with back pain or herniated discs, should consult your physician prior to performing this exercise.
Crescent lunge. This stretch concentrates on opening tight hip flexors and elongating the posterior muscles of the legs. It even helps boost your balance. The crescent lunge is a higher lunge than other variations, which makes it a great starting point for beginners.
For best results, practice these stretches twice each day.
The "November to Remember" fitness plan was designed to be used at any stage. Don't stress if you veer off course. Simply review the plan and start again. Living well is a process so be patient with yourself.
Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.