At-Home Stretches to Practice During Quarantine
When news of the novel Coronavirus first started to break, one of the first things we did was stop going to the gym. It was pretty easy. We were already avoiding the gym because of flu season. But as things became more serious, we had to adapt to stay healthy during self-quarantine.
We improvised a new home gym with whatever we had on hand: canvas grocery bags filled with our stockpile of canned beans, a low sturdy coffee table, a wooden broom. Throw in an order of resistance tubing and we were doing pretty good.
It’s not as if we didn’t have the time to exercise. We were lonely, but we were staying strong.
But What About At-Home Stretches?
Just like it was a little too easy to stop going to the gym, it was also a little too easy to stop doing our least favorite part of working out: stretching.
Stretching can be pretty boring. Without the accountability of a workout partner or a regular yoga class, it isn’t hard to blow it off.
But as one leg of the tripod of fitness—along with strength and cardiovascular training—flexibility is pretty important. If we work hard to build up those muscles but forget about flexibility, we’re just asking for limited joint mobility and a limited range of motion.
Stretches You Can Do at Home
Stretching only takes a few minutes out of our day, and right now we’re looking for ways to kill time anyway. There’s no reason not to come out the other side of quarantine just a little more flexible than we went in.
Since we’re already using resistance bands in our home exercise programs, here’s a recap of some simple stretches that work great with bands.
Before you work out, do some light calisthenics to loosen up and get the blood flowing. Run in place, do some jumping jacks, or use an imaginary jump rope. Then throw in some simple dynamic stretching and range of motion exercises:
Chest Stretch — Stand with your arms out front, holding the band in each hand. Then gently pull your arms to your sides, stretching your chest as you stretch the band. You may need to adjust your grip to change the tension. As you stretch, gently retract your shoulder blades toward one another. This should be a gentle stretch that feels good.
Chest and Shoulder Mobility — Hold the band in front of you as in the previous stretch, but this time raise your hands overhead, then lower them behind your back. Repeat several times slowly.
Cooldown is a great time to stretch. As with the stretches above, these stretches should feel good. Don’t push it to the point of discomfort, and back off if you feel any pain.
Hamstring — You might not need the resistance band for this if you’re already flexible. If you do use the band, it might help to wrap it all the way around your foot in a loop to keep if from sliding off. Repeat on both sides.
Thigh and Hip Opener — While lying on your back, with the band looped around your foot as before, slowly lower your leg to the side. Don’t worry if you don’t have the flexibility to bring your leg all the way to the ground. Just use the band to maintain control and hold a comfortable stretch that feels good. Repeat on both sides.
Hip and Glutes — As with the previous stretch, raise your leg with the band wrapped around your foot. This time, lower the leg across the body. Hold a comfortable stretch. Repeat on both sides.
We’re all stuck at home so there’s no time like the present to get some at-home stretches in. Whether you’re working out alone, with your significant other, or with your furry sidekick at home, these at-home stretches will help keep you flexible and safe.