Cardio, weights and core workouts … oh my! When it comes to exercising these three areas seem to be constant on everyone’s mind. Running, bench presses, and crunches, however, aren’t the only elements to a good workout.
Stretching is an essential part to working out not just to prevent injury and relieve pain, but to increase your range of motion, improve circulation and relieve stress.
For your next workout add these three stretches and watch your body stretch to new heights.
Downward Facing Dog
This stretch may look a little weird at first, but once you get past the awkwardness, the benefits become worth it. Downward facing dog improves flexibility in calves, hamstrings and shoulders, relieves pain in the lower back and elongates your cervical spine, which relieves tension in the body and head.
How to do it: Come onto your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Spread your fingers wide and tuck your toes under. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor, pressing your hips up toward the ceiling. Draw your heels down to the floor or keep a slight bend in your knees. Press your hands firmly into the mat and draw your shoulder blades down. Keep the head between the arms (don’t let it hang). Take deep breaths the entire time.