While many of us work out to build muscle, lose weight, and stay active, stretching is vital for any fitness practice. It improves range of motion, keeps muscles strong, and aids recovery. Helpfully, you can start right now with this 15-minute stretching routine.
It's a gentle session designed to aid mobility and improve your flexibility. Although you can definitely still use the best foam rollers for post-workout massages and faster recovery, it's worth adding this routine into your schedule too.
According to research published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, stretching before a workout helps boost your exercise performance by "affording psychological stability, preparation, and confidence."
But it also gives you a chance to slow down and move your body in a way that feels comfortable. This daily routine from fitness-focused YouTuber Grow with Jo connects your mind and body while also improving flexibility.
You'll hold each of the moves for between 20 and 30 seconds before progressing onto the next stretch. And, as Jo notes, "take nice deep breaths, and take your time with the stretches."
Watch Grow with Jo's 15-minute full-body daily stretch
There's a good reason to focus on your breath, too. A review of past research published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that slow breathing techniques help enhance our emotional control and overall wellbeing.
This is similar to how yoga breathing exercises can improve your workout performance. By learning to control our breath, we can find a sense of calm throughout the day and increase oxygen intake during training.
Grow with Jo's full-body stretch is a great introduction, especially as she uses a strategically placed mirror to show you alternative angles of each move so you can focus on your form and get the most effective stretch.
It's popular, too, with one YouTube user commenting, "That stretch was AMAZING!! My muscles have always been excruciatingly tight, so I almost cried a lot doing this, but hopefully, I can loosen them up if I do this routine every day."
You can add this into your daily routine, but if you're after variety, it's also worth rolling out one of the best yoga mats and taking a yoga class. After a long day sitting at a desk, this 25-minute stretching yoga flow is a great way to unwind.
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James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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