The demanding lifestyle of an average American in today’s society can take a toll on our bodies. The daily pressures of social and professional life can leave us feeling drained and worn out. In such circumstances, it becomes crucial to prioritize the flexibility of our bodies, enabling us to withstand the physical stresses we encounter both at work and home. Having a flexible body allows us to effortlessly reach for things without risking muscle strains caused by sudden movements.
We find ourselves living in a world where we are conditioned to minimize the use of our lower bodies. We drive to our workplaces only to spend the entire day sitting in front of a computer screen. Even after work, most people fail to engage in any form of leg-related exercise.
Stretching in the upper legs area is sure to develop and maintain a healthy low back. It’s no wonder then that lack of lower body flexibility workout has resulted in making lower back pain the most common problem faced by majority of adult Americans.
In this article we are going to look at some of the basic flexibility workouts for your legs so as to fill them with sufficient flexibility. These exercises should only be done after warming up the body by engaging in pulse raising and stretching activities. Stretching should only be done after the muscles have warmed up sufficiently and only to the point of mild tension without being painful. You should breathe normally during stretching without engaging in any jerky or bouncy movements.
The exercises outlined below should be done by holding for 20 seconds and when you feel tight, you can add another 10 seconds for better results.
Let’s get the ball rolling with first stretching your calf (back of your lower leg). First, stand with feet comfortably apart, back straight and stomach tight. Now turn right or left, so that your line of vision is parallel to your computer screen. Make sure you don’t lift your feet while turning, so if you’re turning towards right then simply rotate your body on the rear of your right foot and the front of your left foot. Now lean forward by bending your right knee while maintaining a straight line from the head to the left heel, keeping the left heel on the floor. Place both hands on right thigh while keeping the right leg over the ankle. Now repeat the same by turning your body towards left and so on.
Next we look at an exercise for the back of your thigh, also called as hamstring stretch. Stand up straight with your right foot slightly behind your hips so that the line joining your two feet is perpendicular to your computer screen. Now slowly bend the rear (Right) leg as if you’re sitting backwards. Make sure your front (Left) leg is straight at all times with a minor bend at the knee. Now place both your hands on the right thigh and push your buttocks backwards until you sense a slight tension in the back of your thigh. Never place your hands on the front leg and keep your neck in line with your spine. Your feet should be correctly positioned for balance even if the line joining the tip of both foot thumbs is at a slight angle to your computer screen. You can make such an adjustment according to your comfort level. Now repeat the same by bringing your left foot slightly behind your hips and so on.
Lastly, let’s look at an exercise to strengthen your quadriceps, that is, the front of your thighs. Stand up straight with your feet together, stomach tight and a straight back. Now bend you left knee and with your left hand, lift the left foot towards your buttocks. You must keep your knees close together at all times even if you have to bend slightly on the supporting leg. You can use the wall or another object such as a table or chair, for balance. Tilt the pelvis forward while keeping your back straight and the support leg bent. Now repeat the same by bringing your right foot behind your hips and so on.
If pursued daily, the above exercises are sure to provide you with an adequate workout for a more flexible lower body.