Let's start by moving your arms and shoulders involving your whole body.
Make sure you have enough space around you. Keep your arms and hands relaxed and heavy. Swing your arms backwards and forwards, small movements first, then you can make them bigger. You can bend your knees with each move and get a bit of a rhythm going, even combing this with a squat.
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Now stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees still unlocked and with plenty of space around you. First keep your hips still and swing your arms around you by moving your upper back. First one way, then the other, and so on. Small movements first, then increase the speed of the swinging. You will notice that your circles become bigger. You can tap your body where your hands land, giving yourself an invigorating massage. At a next stage you can move your hips, too, and pivot on one foot. Go with the flow, stay relaxed, feel how your arms move.
Now make a big circle with one arm, stretching your fingers to make it as large as possible. Go both ways on both sides. The advanced version of this exercise is to do both arms at the same time but in opposite directions. Have fun. I find it helps if you start with both arms stretched out at the top. Go both directions with each arm.
Find a door frame and stand in front of it facing the room. Bring
your arms up so that they are level with your shoulders. Bend your
elbows ninety degrees with your palms facing forward. Place your
elbows, lower arms and hands on the door frame. Keep your shoulders away from your ears. Now
shift your weight until you feel a stretch across your chest,
obviously while staying steady on your feet. Hold. You can vary
this stretch by moving your upper arms higher or lower.
Tall people can even use the top of the door frame for a stretch, but I can't reach.
Sit or stand upright, lift your chest, tuck your chin in slightly, or alternatively, imagine being gently pulled up by a golden thread from the crown of your head. Now place the palm of one hand on the skin of the top of your breast bone and stretch it down towards your belly. Place the other hand on top. While you stretch down push your chin in until you feel a stretch between you collar bone and neck. If you want to have a bit of fun grimace with your mouth, push the corners of the mouth down a lot, feel this in your chest muscles.
Lie on your back on a firm surface, for example a yoga matt or a carpet. Bend your legs, put your lower back in "neutral", find a pillow for your head if required. Relax for a few moments, take a deep breath. Now slowly lift your straight arms over your head. Keep your lower back where it is. Feel the stretch at the front of the chest and belly. Rest your arms over your head and take a few breaths. Bring your arms back. Roll up a towel and place under your ribcage at the back. Again lift your arms over your head and you will feel a stronger stretch. Experiment with the thickness of the towel roll. Enjoy the opening of your chest and upper belly.
There are lots of ways of stretching your quads.
Here are a few. Stand tall with your lower back in "neutral".
Throughout, don't arch your lower back, even though it might be
tempting. Do both sides.
Stand on one foot, with your leg unlocked. Have something to hold onto for balance. Get hold of the ankle of the leg to be stretched. Pull your heel towards your bottom until you feel a strong stretch in the front of your thigh. Keep your pelvis straight. Hold. To increase the stretch, rotate your pelvis forward. You can do this stretch lying on your side, stretch the upper leg. You can use a rolled up towel or band if you can't reach.
Stand with your back towards a sofa of a chair with a pillow on
the edge of it. Have something to hold onto in front. Place the
top of one foot on the sofa/chair behind you. Don't move your
pelvis, keep it straight throughout. Now bend your supporting leg
until you feel a stretch, hold on if needed. Move in and out of
the stretch. If your balance is excellent, you can raise your
arms over your head. This is two for the time of of one, one leg
stretches, the other is strengthened, and it engages your core -
While you are standing place the top of your toes of one foot on
a soft surface on the floor. You might want to move your foot
slightly so that all toes get a stretch. To increase the stretch,
bend your standing leg.
Kneel facing away from a sofa. Put your hands on the sofa and lean back. Now push out your hips and flatten your lower back. Hold. If that is easy for you, put your hands on the floor behind you and lift your hips (after moving away from the sofa). Make sure you don't arch your lower back. This is a good stretch for the quads, hip flexors, top of the feet and arms.
The next exercise is a MET - Muscle Energy Technique - you can do on yourself. Sit down with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand in the middle of your thigh. With about twenty percent of your strength attempt to lift up your thigh towards your chest, but hold your leg down with your hand. Hold for about twelve seconds and repeat three times. Do the other leg.
For the side of the body you might want to start by visiting the
neck exercises again.
Stand with your back against a wall, legs about shoulder width apart. Bring your sacrum, ribcage, shoulders and heels towards the wall. Tuck your chin in, and if possible have the back of your head touch the wall. Bend gently from one side to another while staying in contact with the wall. Stroke the side of your thigh and reach as far down your leg as you can with each bend. Now hold a stretch on one side. Feel the space between your hip and ribs expand. To increase the stretch, lift up the arm and hold for about twelve seconds.
Stand in a doorway, put one arm up the door frame so that your
palm reaches as high as you can. Now gently let your hipbone move
towards the side with the arm raised, you can let your hand slide
on the frame. Don't twist your hips. You should feel a stretch on
that side. To increase the stretch stand further away from the
side you are leaning towards. If your shoulder is not allowing you
to lift your arm up, you can rest the side of your chest against
the door frame instead. The pictures shows me without slippers,
for more control I would recommend wearing footwear that does not
To finish, imagine you are a cat that has just woken up. Give yourself a good wriggle and stretch the way only a cat can do. Then find a comfortable position, take a couple of deep breaths and enjoy the rest of your day.
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