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Modern life can leave us feeling a bit stiff. We simply don’t move or stretch our bodies enough and over time, this erodes our flexibility.
But the good news is, flexibility to something we can get back – it isn’t reserved for children, dancers and yoga instructors.
Elle Linton, a qualified PT and fitness entrepreneur, has created a quick, five-minute sequence designed to improve flexibility and mobility.
“At just five minutes long, this routine can be be squeezed in to bookend your day, morning or evening, or tagged onto the end of a workout, run or walk,” she says. “You’ll get the most out of it if your muscles are warmed up already and the more consistent you are, the sooner you will see and feel the benefits. If you have time to repeat the routine two to three times, even better!”
If repeated regularly, this workout is designed to help you do the splits, or at least get a little closer to that party trick. But it’s also a great one if you want to improve your yoga practice, feel more supple on your run, or simply tie your shoelaces without sitting down. Go on, give it a try.
1. Half split
“This first stretch is a hamstring stretch. The further back you have your bent leg, the easier it is,” say Linton. “Practice the stretch with feet pointed and flexed. You can also use a yoga strap and the stretch can be done with both legs straight.
“Remember to always ensure you are on your sitting bone, and try to maintain a long neutral spine (straight back).”
Complete this stretch for 30 seconds each side, one minute in total.
2. Leg kicks
“This is a dynamic stretch for your hamstrings,” says Linton. “Trying to keep your leg straight, starting from the floor, kick your leg up towards the ceiling then return to just above the floor in a controlled manner. This stretch can also be done on your elbows.”
Repeat for 30 seconds on each leg, one minute total.
3. Frog stretch
“This is a nice stretch for your inner thighs,” says Linton. “Lay with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. There will be three positions starting in a long ‘diamond’, half way, then feet as close to your bottom as your flexibility allows. Try to relax and breathe into the stretch to allow your knees to fall towards the ground .”
Complete each position for 30 seconds, stretching for 1.5 minutes total.
4. Hamstring stretch with chair
“This final stretch is also for your hamstrings,” says Linton. “Place one leg, bent, on a chair with the other leg straight on the floor. Trying to keep your back straight reach towards your toes; you can also use the chair as leverage to increase the stretch by pulling yourself down.”
Stretch for 45 seconds on each leg, 1.5 minutes total.
Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.