A pillar holding up the Japanese diet is one concept that doesn't come to mind on its own, the importance of stretching to your health. Stretching is long engrained in the culture of Japan as essential to lifelong health. In this episode of Slism we will discuss 3 simple stretches you can do to gain flexibility in your hips.
Flexibility varies from person to person. We all can agree that there are people that can do the splits and there are those than cannot. For people who feel fit for exercise and sports, stretching may be the reason why. Failing to stretch your body when you are stiff is like not oiling up your bicycle before going out for a ride.
Stretching is an exercise that you can do even when your body isn't sore. This idea is not intuitive at first, however it is said that daily stretching can loosen up your limbs, gaining flexibility. In terms of diet and exercise this is not something you should pass up. Gaining flexibility over time is just as important as maintaining or losing weight.
Quick Hip Stretches (Illustrated)
Improving Your Flexibility Starts at the Hips
People often associate stretching with warming up before beginning to exercise. Stretching allows you to loosen up joints, muscles, and tendons to get the best performance out of your body during a workout.
What are the benefits that come along with bodily flexibility?
By increasing the flexibility in your body, it is said that you can increase the temperature in of your body slightly and temporally due to improved circulation. This is advantageous for people with stiff bodies having trouble getting into exercise.
In addition, it is also preferred that you stretch after taking a shower or a bath for more comfortable stretching.
Here are some hip stretches to start working more flexibility into your body at its core.
Flexi-stretch 1: The Butterfly
This next stretch is similar to what is known as the Butterfly Stretch. In an adaptation of this well-known stretch, this stretch incorporates concepts from both dynamic and static stretching designed to effectively loosen up your hips if continued over time.
- From a sitting position on the floor, crossed legged, bring the back of your feet together forcing knees down towards the floor.
- Holding your feet together, straight backed, bring your upper body forward not forgetting to breathe as you would normally, doing the action in a slow motion fashion. By forcing your body there is chance that you will hurt your back. So avoid overdoing this port of the stretch stopping before it hurts.
- Raise your body up after feeling the relaxing sensation from the stretch. Don't forget to breath. Repeat the movements prescribed by this stretch.
Avoid bending over back rounded to prevent injury. Lower your upper body back straight refraining rounding at your back.
Instead of trying to bring your head down to your toes, bring your abdomen to the floor. This is the image you want to keep while performing the movements in this stretch.
Flexi-stretch 2: Knees to Chest
In this next stretch you will from a laying position elevate a leg stretching your hips from the comfort of your back. As simple as bringing your knees to chest, you too can start to see the effects sit in limbering your mid-section.
- Lay face-up on your back
- Using both your arms elevate one of your legs towards your chest exhaling as your bring your leg up. Note that you don't necessarily have to bring your leg all the way to your chest.
- Exhaling as you complete brining your knees towards your chest, loosen you grip around your leg. Inhale as your bring your leg back to its original position on the floor.
- Relax breathing out as you lower your arms back to your side, returning to the floor face up and arms at your side.
- After completing the stretch on one leg, take a moment to rest before alternating to your other leg. This time perform the same movements on the other leg, repeating multiple times.
Flexi-stretch 3: Modified horse stance
This next stretch looks quite similar to the horse stanceoften seen in Karate. Although a few steps more difficult than the previously described stretches, this stretch should be the challenge you are looking for in an exercise.
- Open legs wider than shoulder width, slowing lowing hips towards the ground.
- After lowering your hips, forming a 90 degree angle between knees, in bandy-legged stance rock your body from left to right while maintaining your center of gravity. Repeat.
- This time, bring your upper body forward, grabbing hold of both your ankles. Perform the same motion as discussed previously, left-right alternations of your center of gravity.
The Benefits of Limber Body Stretching
Stretching allows you to increase the flexibility in your body, making your more limber and less prone to injury during physical activity. Along with yoga and Pilates, stretching doesn't require special equipment. Not only does it increase the limberness of your body, stretching is thought to have a relaxing effect on your body.
When you're stretching, alpha waves are sent out by your brain lowering your heart rate and relax your nervous system. Sitting upper body leaned forward; flexible people are seen to have lower chances of suffering from clogged hardening of arteries.
Making stretching into a habit comes with many relaxing benefits. When starting to stretch don't overdo it and try to enjoy yourself. Moreover, it's especially important to keep in mind the importance of natural breathing, getting the most out of your stretch.