3 Easy Stretches With Big Benefits
Stand tall with your feet wider than your hips, your back straight and form a T with your arms. Turn your right toes toward the side and keep your left toes pointing forward. Slowly lean down to the right, bending your waist and allowing your right hand to fall naturally. If you cant touch the ground, rest your hand on your knee, shin or use a yoga block (or stack of books).
Benefits: This stretches your legs, ankle joints, groin muscles, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. It also strengthens your legs, knees, abs and back. It has even been known to alleviate back pain and symptoms of menopause. Not bad for 5 minutes of your time!
Stand straight up and exhale as you bend forward from your hip joints (not your waist). Keep your knees straight, and if possible, bring your palms or fingertips to the floor in front of you or beside your feet. If you cant, simply go as far as you can. When coming up, be sure to rise slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Benefits: This strengthens your thighs and knees, as well as stretches your hamstrings, calves and hips. Other benefits are said to be improved digestion, headache and insomnia relief and stimulation of the liver and kidneys.
Get down on hands and knees with hands shoulder-width apart, knees hip-width apart and back flat. (Also, remember to engage your abs.) Shift your weight back over your heels while keeping your knees and ankles separated and toes curled under. Lengthen your spin, relax your neck and reach forward through your fingertips.
Benefits: This gently stretches your ankles, hips and thighs. It is also a great stretch for calming your brain and relieving stress and fatigue.