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5-Minute Fitness: Stretch Away Pain

Published: April 25, 2013

Stay energized and pain free with three simple stretches for every day and every body from Scott Danberg, Director of Fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center. Not in the habit of stretching? Start now, and here’s how:

Cat Stretch

MAD CAT UPPER BACK STRETCH
How:

  • Begin on hands and knees with hands directly under shoulders and shoulder-width apart, and knees directly under hips and hip-width apart.
  • Simultaneously drop chin to your chest, pull stomach towards spine, and arch back up like a mad cat.
  • Hold 10-30 seconds.

Why: The Mad Cat stretch strengthens abdominal, shoulder, and back muscles, and helps loosen a tight lower back to ease nagging discomfort.

STANDING CHEST STRETCH
How:

  • Hold arms about 6 inches from your sides with palms up.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together while pulling arms behind body, as though holding a ball in place with shoulder blades.
  • Hold 10 to 30 seconds.

Why: The Standing Chest Stretch “frees up” the upper body by allowing neck and shoulder muscles to relax. It works wonders for anyone who spends hours crouched over a computer, counter, or conveyer belt.

SEATED INNER THIGH STRETCH
How:

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Bend knees and bring soles of feet together till they touch each other. (Don’t cross your legs!)
  • Grasp ankles and, as able, lower knees toward floor. (Don’t use elbows to put pressure on your knees.)
  • Hold 10-30 seconds.

Why: The Seated Inner Thigh Stretch helps the lower body move more freely through a greater range of motion. And it helps those who have trouble getting up off the floor or rising from chairs.

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