The body can be a well-oiled machine when you take care of it properly, and there is no debate that exercise is good for you. God does not want you to just take care of your mind and soul; He wants you to treat your body well for the time that you have it.
Proper exercise sometimes has to come with a little know-how. Stretching is an important step in exercise, because it improves flexibility and helps the body to gain tone, strength and endurance. Stretching is meant to be done slowly and with purpose. The moves are precise and should be done gradually.
Stretch all of your major muscle groups before engaging in physical activity. Try these stretch exercises to start and build your stretch routine as you move forward in your exercise regime.
Arms & Shoulders: To stretch your arms and shoulders, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and put your right arm across your chest. With your left arm bent at the elbow, palm facing you and fingertips pointed toward the heavens, grab your right arm with the crux of your left elbow. Keep your right arm straight and place your left arm as close to your right elbow as possible. Slowly pull your right arm with your left arm toward your body. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds. Repeat this procedure using your other arm.
Chest: To stretch your chest muscles, stand near a doorway. Straighten your right arm and place it against the door jam. Step and turn your body away from your outstretched arm until you feel a slight pull on the muscles. Hold this position for about 20 seconds and repeat the procedure with your other arm.
To stretch your midsection, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Straighten your right arm above your head and place your left hand on your left hip. Slowly lean to the left until your body naturally stops. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds. Repeat this procedure with the other side of your body.
For another midsection stretch, lie on the floor on your stomach with your hands on the floor by your side as though you are about to do a push-up. Using your arms, slowly raise your chest off the floor, keeping your hips on the floor, until you feel a slight pull in your abdomen. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds and slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Slide your upper body back and your knees forward into a crouched ball to stretch your lower back. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds.
Front of your thighs: To stretch the front of your thighs, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right leg behind you and grab your ankle with your right hand. Hold on to something with your left hand for balance if you need to. Remain standing straight and bring your leg toward your buttocks. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds and repeat the procedure with your other leg.
Back of your legs: To stretch the back of your legs, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your hands on your hips, take a step forward with your right leg. Slightly bend your right knee keeping your hips in line with your shoulders. Keep your left heel on the floor and bend you right leg until you feel a slight pull in the back of your left leg. Hold this pose for about 20 seconds. Repeat this procedure with your other leg.
Stretching isn’t just a great way to prepare for exercise; it’s a great way to clear your mind and hear God more clearly. It helps loosen the body, which gives your brain a chance to relax as well. As you are stretching, you are concentrating on the moves and how your body feels.
These actions focus the mind and help to relieve worries or halt random thoughts from popping into your head. Stretching exercises are also great for when you are short on time but want to do something good for your body.