Fitness is a necessity for all levels of ability. No matter the amount of weight lifted, the miles logged, or calories burned, movement is key. And the body will thank you for it.
Along with fitness comes stretching. It’s a must. And on those days when fitness can’t be fit in, your body needs a bit of stretching. Nothing major, or time consuming, it can be as simple as reaching for the sky and holding it a little longer than normal.
Our move today is a forward fold. This folding stretch will loosen your back, arms, glutes and hamstrings. And best of all, everyone can do it.
Begin this stretch by standing tall, feet flat on the floor, about hip width apart. Holding your chest tall and core strong, take a deep breath and bend at the hips.
Keep this forward motion somewhat slow, taking your time to articulate in your spine.
Reaching with the hands toward the floor in front of your toes, you will begin to feel the targeted muscles beginning to pull slightly (in a good way).
Depending on your level of flexibility, start by reaching for the knees, if that’s good, go toward the shins, and if that’s good, reach all the way to the feet.
Once you get to your deepest point, try holding it for about 10-15 seconds. Take another deep breath, and try to extend it slightly more. Repeat this a few times, then return to a standing position.
Take a small break, letting the blood flow from your forehead, then repeat the forward fold again. Remember to not hold your breath while holding this move as you will feel lightheaded. You can always start small and move into a complete folding motion.
This stretch is great on its own and even better after a full body workout.
— Marlo Alleva, an instructor at Gold’s Gym and group fitness coordinator at Fontaine-Gills YMCA, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.