September 25, 2022

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Health & Fitness

A fitness trainer shares the 7 stretches she does every day to keep her body ‘young and healthy’

A fitness trainer shares the 7 stretches she does every day to keep her body ‘young and healthy’

My morning stretches for improved mobility

As a fitness trainer, I constantly focus on improving my mobility; it keeps my body young and healthy.

I recommend doing mobility stretches in the morning, when your body feels the most stiff from sleeping. Here are the stretches I do every day:

1. Hip CARs

This exercise challenges your range of motion in almost a full 360 degrees, training your full-range hip mobility. Hip CARs “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core and abductors.

Start with your hands and knees on the ground.

Photo: HealthDay

Hip CARs “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core and abductors.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the ground.
  2. While keeping your spine neutral and not shifting your weight, lift one leg to the side and bend it behind you.
  3. Return your leg back to the ground, then reverse the movement.
  4. Repeat six to eight times in each direction, on each leg.

2. 90/90 Hip Stretch

We’re often in a neutral hip position (i.e., when sitting or walking), so these rotations can improve hip mobility and reduce low back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.

Life often puts you in a “neutral” hip, so rotating the hip can reduce low back pain and improve hip mobility.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Sit with your legs in a 90/90 position. One knee should be out to the side, bent in a 90-degree angle, with the bottom of your foot facing behind you. Place the other knee in front of you, bent in a 90-degree angle, with the bottom of your foot facing to the side.
  2. If this position alone is enough of a stretch for you, stay in it for 30 to 60 seconds on each side side.
  3. If you want to add extra movement, try leaning forward (lead with your chest, and don’t round your back). You’ll feel an intensified stretch in the outer part of your hip on the forward leg. Hold for three seconds, then sit back up.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

3. Adductor Active Stretch

Your adductors (inner thighs) tend to be tight. These tight muscles can decrease the range of motion in your hip and cause knee pain. This stretch focuses on the mobility of the adductors.

Your adductors (inner thighs) tend to be tight, which can cause knee pain. This stretch focuses on actively stretching the adductors.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, but with your knees slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Extend and straighten one leg out to the side.
  3. Slowly rock your body back and forth.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

4. Cat-Cow Pose

This motion helps improve spinal health by both strengthening and stretching the muscles that support and control your spine.

Start on your hands and knees. Push your body away from the floor and round your back.

Photo: HealthDay

Arch your back and look up towards the ceiling. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Push your body away from the floor and round your back. Your head will end up between your arms.
  3. Arch your back and look up towards the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

5. 6T Spine Twists

I’ve seen many people tweak their back by slightly twisting and stretching to pick something up. Improving mobility and training the body in this twisting motion can teach the body to safely move.

Sit in a chair. Then bend down and grab the inside of your right ankle with your right arm.

Photo: HealthDay

Improving mobility and training the body in this twisting motion can teach the body to safely move.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Sit in a chair.
  2. Grab the inside of your right ankle with your right arm.
  3. Start with your left hand next to your right, then hold your arm straight and slowly rotate until your left arm is reaching towards the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

6. Shoulder CARs

As a ball-in-socket joint, the shoulders can move in many different directions. These shoulder circles challenge and improve your range of motion, reducing the chances of shoulder and neck pain.

First, bring one arm out in front of you.

Photo: HealthDay

Reach that arm up as high as you can.

Photo: HealthDay

Shoulder CARs reduce the chance of shoulder and neck pain by challenging your range of motion.

Photo: HealthDay

Neck circles stretch and relax the neck, improving mobility and relieving tension.

Photo: HealthDay

Keep in mind that these exercises are not for everyone. If you have a physical condition or health concerns, consult with your doctor first.

Photo: HealthDay

How to do it:

  1. Clasp your hands behind your back to help “pull” your shoulders back.
  2. Start with your chin to your chest, then slowly roll your head so your right ear goes toward your right shoulder.
  3. Slowly look up at the ceiling and continue the circle so your left ear falls towards your left shoulder, then return your chin to your chest.
  4. Reverse the direction.
  5. If any position in this circle feels extra tense, pause and allow the stretch to occur for about 30 seconds before continuing.
  6. Do three to four circles in each direction.

Keep in mind that these exercises are not for everyone. If you have a physical condition or health concerns, consult with your doctor before trying any of the stretches.

Stephanie Mellinger is a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and nutritionist. She is also the founder of the fitness company Omnia Fit and a writer for HealthDay. Follow her on Instagram @omnia_fit_.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/02/a-fitness-trainer-shares-the-7-stretches-she-does-every-morning-keep-her-body-young-and-healthy.html