I like a good pump like the next person, but I also like to measure fitness in different ways. For some people – including me – being fit can mean being more flexible and mobile, and lifting dumbbells and barbells won't help you achieve that. The good news is that if you dedicate just a few minutes a day to stretching, you can get a lot more flexible quickly.
Being flexible helps at any age, but it's especially useful to help people keep fit over 40. Even if you aren't 40 yet, you should consider doing more stretching as it can make you less prone to injuries later in life by strengthening your tendons and joints. Not to mention, being more flexible can help optimise workout performance; think of improved running cadence and a fuller range of motion when lifting weights.
This stretching routine is recommended post-workout to loosen up those muscles and speed up recovery. It focuses on the hamstrings and the back and includes some exercises I use every day to ease back pain, such as the spine twist, an excellent move to decompress the spine after a long day in the office or an intense squat workout.
Get your yoga mat ready and click play on the video below!
Daniela Suarez's 7-minute post-workout stretching routine: How to do it
Like Mady Morrison's 15-minute full-body stretch, the best thing about Daniela's stretching video is that she doesn't talk to you; instead of listening to the instructor's fake motivational blurb, you can focus on the muscles and relax. Establishing this muscle-mind connection is vital in improving both flexibility and fitness.
As for the exercises, Daniela's video explains it all but here is the list of moves featured in the video:
- Knee hug – 30 seconds
- Single Knee Hug (Right) – 30 seconds
- Lying leg Stretch (Straight, Right) – 30 seconds
- Half Happy Baby Pose (Right) – 30 seconds
- Spine Twist (Right) – 30 seconds
- Single Knee Hug (Left) – 30 seconds
- Lying leg Stretch (Straight, Left) – 30 seconds
- Half Happy Baby Pose (Left) – 30 seconds
- Spine Twist (Left) – 30 seconds
- Cobra – 30 seconds
- Child Pose – 30 seconds
- Cobra (Again) – 30 seconds
- Downward-facing Dog – 30 seconds
- Forward Fold – 30 seconds
If your hamstrings are as flexible as mine – as in, not really – I recommend using resistance bands for the lying leg stretch and the half happy baby pose. You can hook the band around your foot and pull the ends gently with your hands. I might even recommend the TRX Bandit, as that was designed for these situations.
For even more stretching action, have a look at this 10-min yoga sequence that undoes the damage of sitting, or you can ease back pain in 5 minutes with this satisfying stretching routine. I use these seven bodyweight exercises to ease back pain (I really do), and they help! Even if you haven't got scoliosis as I do.