Do you suffer from back pain or aches in other areas of your body that seem to happen for no reason at all?
If so, there’s a good chance that it’s related to inflexibility. When your body is not as flexible as it can be, muscles tend to compress which leads to unnecessary stress on your back and joints.
Keeping your body strong and flexible by performing simple stretches on a daily basis will help your body stay pain-free.
The following stretches will help those aches and pains reside while preparing your body for a good workout or easing your body back into form after a strenuous workout.
See the stretches below and please share them with your friends who are dealing with unlucky aches and pains.
By Alyssa Shaffer
For pain in your knees
Blame this: Tight feet or ankles
You probably don’t think about the muscles in your feet all that much, but truth be told, they are constantly working hard for you. Tightness in the feet or ankles can be felt everywhere—but especially in the knees.
Feel-better move: Plantar fascia stretch
Kneel with your toes tucked, placing your weight on the balls of both feet. Slowly lower your upper body until you’re sitting on your heels. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs and lean back. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds.
For pain in your lower back
Blame this: Tight hips
The hip flexors cross eight different joints, says Reavy: “When these muscles are tight, it shuts down the abs and glutes, and if those aren’t working at their full strength, you’ll feel it in the lower back.”
Feel-better move: King cobra stretch
Lie facedown, palms under shoulders and slightly turned out. Slide left leg up toward hips and bend knee; right leg stays extended with toes turned in. Push up until arms are straight. Keeping hips on floor with elbows close to sides, turn head and upper body slightly to the left. Hold for 20 to 45 seconds; switch sides.
For pain in your shoulders
Blame this: Tight back
That clicking sound may be coming from your shoulders, but they’re not the only guilty party. “The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, with the ball of the humerus—upper arm—sitting inside a cavity in the scapula, or shoulder blade,” says Reavy. “When your lower trapezius, or midback, muscles are weak, it can alter the mechanics of the ball and socket, causing pain.”
Feel-better move: Lat stretch
Kneel with arms extended forward on top of a stability ball, palms in and thumbs facing the ceiling. Sit back toward heels, pushing chest toward the floor; keep your back flat. Hold for 30 seconds. Move ball to the left, stretching your right lat muscle; hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side, stretching your left lat muscle.
For pain in your neck
Blame this: Tight chest
Even if you don’t have a desk job, you likely still spend lots of time sitting in front of a computer, riding in a car or looking at your phone. That constant forward lean causes a tightness in your pec muscles, which run along the front of your chest. “Tight pecs pull you forward, which can create a strain or tightness in the neck,” says Reavy.
Feel-better move: Pec stretch
Stand facing a wall with your right arm raised to shoulder height; bring your forearm flush against the wall. Rotate your torso away from your right arm, stretching the front of your chest and right shoulder. Bend sideways at the hip away from the wall. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.