After a long day of work, we all look forward to flopping down on a couch to watch our favourite TV shows. But, sitting in front of a computer all day can result in stiff joints and the last thing your body needs is more inactivity. Basic exercise and stretches help to lengthen and strengthen muscles, as well as reduce injuries, especially as we age.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), adults should do flexibility exercises two to three times per week. But many of us find it difficult to find time to incorporate stretching into an already jammed packed week. But, finding time to stretch and do a few basic movement exercises doesn’t have to be a mammoth task. In fact, doing just five simple exercises in front of the TV every night is enough to improve your life and your flexibility.
All you need to get started is some comfortable clothes, and exercise mat, and your favourite series! Here are 5 stretches you can do in front of the TV to get your blood flowing and your body in great shape:
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This is a simple but excellent stretching exercise for your neck that can be done anytime and anywhere. Whether it’s on a long flight to relieve the tension of sitting for hours, while sitting at your desk, or on the floor in front of the TV. Rather than doing neck rolls with the head tilting forward and back (this can put a lot of stress on the neck and cause injury), try this stretch instead.
Stand straight and look forward. Relax your shoulders and gently tilt your head towards one shoulder. Be aware not to push yourself too far and if this doesn’t feel right, then stop the stretch. Try to hold for three seconds.
Tilt your head to the other side, gently stretch your neck. You should feel a gentle stretch and then return to the start position, with eyes straight forward.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Back and hamstring stretch
The best way to stretch your back, chest, and hamstring is the classic Downward Facing Dog. Even if you’ve never taken a yoga class before, you may have heard of, or tried, the downward dog stretch. This classic yoga pose is ideal for a full-body stretch to really get the blood flowing.
Start on your hands and knees. Ensure your hands are under your shoulders and knees under your hips, so you are in as square of a position as possible.
Then, lift your tailbone, drawing your hips toward the ceiling. Straighten your legs as best as you can and press your heels gently toward the floor.
Relax your head between your arms, facing your knees. Your back should be flat. Ideally, work up to holding the position for 60 seconds.
Standing hamstring stretch
If your hamstrings need even more of a stretch, try this easy stretch to really elongate the body. Sitting in a chair all day creates tight hamstrings and this will help to loosen those tight tendons and muscles at the back of your thighs.
Stand upright with the spine in a neutral position. Place the right leg in front of the body with the foot flexed, the heel pushed into the ground, and the toe pointing toward the ceiling. Slightly bend the left knee.
Gently lean forward and place the hands on the straight right leg, being careful to rest your hands on your thighs, not your knee for support.
Keep a neutral spine. Hold the stretch for 10–30 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
To improve upper arm mobility and help prevent tight muscles, it’s important to stretch out your triceps. This move is a simple and effective stretch.
Lift one arm above your head while standing and bend at the elbow to reach down behind your neck. Use your free hand to push that raised arm further down behind your head gently.
Repeat with the opposite arm. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
Lower back stretch
End off your stretching routine with a classic Child’s Pose. This easy pose is a great way to end your stretches and is an incredibly comfortable position. This movement can not only relieve tension in the lower back, but many have also found it effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
Kneel on your mat or carpet with your knees wider than hip-width apart and your feet together behind you.
Sit back on your heels (as best as you can) and fold forward, resting your belly on your thighs. Extend your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the floor.
You’ll feel this stretch in your shoulders and back, in addition to your hips and glutes. Modify your stretch, if you’re having trouble getting your bottom to reach your heels, by placing a rolled-up blanket between your thighs and calves.
Press your chest and shoulders gently toward the ground to deepen the stretch.
Hold for at least 30 seconds.
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