I am not naturally flexible.  Unless I stretch on a regular basis, let’s just say my hamstrings, gluts, upper back and chest get more than a little tight!  Even still, my tendency is to skip stretching after my workouts (shame, shame) to save on time.  Invariably, my cheating comes back to bite me in the butt – literally!  Needless to say, after a few skipped days, I have some “issues” that I’ve been working on with stretches and the foam roller this morning.  This is my inspiration for our daily exercise challenge…

Today’s challenge is to complete a quick, simple stretching routine that is geared toward those of us with a “get in and get out” type of schedule!  Also, the stretches I’m including are great to do on a “relative rest” day.  Monday happens to be my “relative rest day” since it is my longest work day.  Relative rest just means that I will be doing NO SPECIFIC WORKOUT today and my only exercise will be things like my activities of daily living (walking my dog, playing with my daughter…) stretching, foam rolling and walking which let me rest my muscles completely before the workouts of the rest of the week.

If you’re a regular strength-trainer, a perfect relative rest day for you might include:

  • swimming
  • bike riding
  • taking a Yoga class
  • stretching session or time on the foam roller

Your 5-Minute Full-Body Stretch Routine

These stretches are some of my favorites that target all of your major muscle groups and leave you feeling good either to end a workout or as a relaxing stretch session.  It’s always recommended to stretch when your muscles are warm to help prevent injury (The basic protocol is to warm up, workout, cool down and then stretch at the end, holding each stretch for 10-30 seconds while taking deep breaths).  Feel free to repeat each stretch a few times, especially if you have tight areas that need it.  All of these stretches can be done from a standing position (or modified to a seated position if needed.)

For a quick break midday, try numbers 1, 3, 8 (can be done while sitting:  With tall posture, with the leg you’re stretching extended out under the desk), 6 (the seated version which looks the same as what’s pictured), and 11!