Being flexible is something most of us take for granted, but can lessen with age. So maintaining your movement is essential, and it doesn’t take long to improve flexibility either. Lengthening and strengthening your muscles can help you to avoid injury while running, reduce your chances of back pain and help your balance. All you need to do is set aside 15 minutes each day for these 10 simple stretching exercises.
Stand with your feet together and knees bent. Bend at the hips so you’re folded over and put your hands on the floor. Breathe, lengthen your spine and straighten your knees as much as you can
Lie flat on your front, bend your knees, bringing your heels in. Reach back with both hands and hold onto your outer ankles. Lift your heels toward the ceiling so that your head, chest, torso and legs are off the mat. Hold for 30 seconds.
Do a push-up and then hold yourself in a plank position for five seconds before moving into the downward dog yoga position. Lower your heels to the floor and repeat this dynamic move once more.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Stretch out one leg and lift your bottom from the floor as you do it. Your body should be in a nice straight line, from the tip of your extended toe all the way along your spine. Slowly lower your leg. Do this 10 times (holding the position for your last rep) and repeat with the other leg.
You can do this in your office chair while you wait for an email to come through. Sit up straight and place the ankle of one foot on the knee of the opposite leg. Put your hands on your raised knee and ankle, then slowly lean forwards. Roll back, keeping the move controlled. Do it again on the other leg.
Get down on one knee and lunge forwards. Your front knee should be over your front ankle, with your back leg underneath you. Lean into the stretch, taking care to keep your upper body still. Switch legs after three reps.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, raise your arms and lower yourself into a half-squat. Be careful not to arch your back and to keep your inner thighs parallel. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then repeat once more.
Everyone dreads this move during pilates. Hold the position for as long as you can, with your toes on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders. Do it in front of a mirror to make sure your back is straight.
Lie on your side with your upper leg tucked under the lower and your palms pressed together. Keeping your legs still, open your arms until your shoulders are flat on the ground and your other arm is fully stretched out. Roll back and repeat. Switch sides after 10 reps.
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and clench your abs. Twist your upper body to the side, repeating 10 times and holding on the last rep. Switch sides.