Having a daily stretching routine is an incredibly beneficial and vital part of any good fitness and health plan.
While most of us spend our time focusing on things like speed, strength, and endurance, stretching is equally important, yet often ignored.
To that end, we’ve put together this short guide. In it, you’ll learn why having a daily stretching routine is so vital, and how to go about it.
The Benefits Of Having a Daily Stretching Routine
The most apparent benefit of having a daily stretching routine is that it improves your flexibility, which makes you more athletic, better able to perform various exercises, and stay safe while training.
Another incredible benefit is that it helps improve post-workout recovery and prevent the onset of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from occurring. So if your muscles are supple and loose through stretching, you’ll recover quicker after workouts. (1)
Numerous studies report that stretching for as little as five minutes after a workout significantly speeds up your recovery and lessens the feeling of soreness in the following days. This is a big part of overall wellness as it relates to your fitness regimen. (2)
Another great benefit of stretching is that it directly improves our exercise performance. Having better hip, ankle, upper back, and shoulder mobility allow us to more safely (and more effectively) perform various complex exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, bench press, arm curls, and more.
This all translates into maybe the most important benefit of all: a consistent daily stretching routine substantially reduces your risk of injury. And as you get older, this becomes increasingly important!
A Sample Routine For The Busy Professional
With everything said so far, we know that you probably realize just how important it is to have a daily stretching routine.
But, if you have a busy schedule, making time for stretching every day might seem impossible.
To that end, we’ve put together this incredibly useful routine you can do in as little as five to ten minutes as you wake up in the morning or before going to bed in the evening.
Routine for Daily Stretching
Warm-up for 1 to 2 minutes – choose any one of the following:
- Jog in place
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope
- Hopping in place
This will get your muscles warm and your blood flowing. Never stretch or workout cold muscles.
After that, move to the dynamic stretching element and move from the top-down of your body:
- Neck rotations
- Shoulders rotations
- Arm rotations
- Chest stretch
- Torso rotations (core, and hips)
- Leg sweeps
- Knee lifts
- Feet and ankle rotations
Once you’re done with that sequence, you should be feeling loose and energetic. Move on to the second and more relaxed part – the static stretching.
Focus on body parts that are more susceptible to injuries – both as a single event (e.g., acute injuries) and as you age (e.g., overuse injuries).
- Lower back stretches
- Neck stretches
- Hip stretches
- Light full-body stretches – your arms, legs, shoulders, upper back, and ankles.
That’s it. In as little as ten minutes per day, you can drastically improve your flexibility and athleticism while also decreasing the risk of injuries and aches down the line.
How (And Why) You Should Emphasize Different Parts Of Your Body
Before wrapping this guide up, it’s important to emphasize one key point:
Depending on your occupation and lifestyle, you should emphasize different parts of your body. The daily routine for stretching that you follow should not be identical to someone else’s.
For example, if you work a desk job, you should ensure work on your lower back and posture to improve your long-term wellness.
On the other hand, if you work a physically-active job (for example, construction), you should focus on stretching your legs, arms, and back more.
The point is, look at your lifestyle and occupation when designing your daily stretching routine – don’t just copy other people. Everyone’s body is different, so your stretching routine should be tailored to your lifestyle.
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1) Olson, G. (2021, October 5). Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): Symptoms, causes, treatment. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/doms
2) Andersen, J. C. (2005). Stretching before and after exercise: Effect on muscle soreness and injury risk. Journal of athletic training. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1250267/