7 Stretches To Add to Your Daily Routine

Whether you’re an athlete, workout warrior or just getting into fitness, there are many reasons to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Stretching improves flexibility, strengthens muscles and decreases soreness and risk of injury. It also helps increase energy levels, boost blood circulation, improve joint health and reduce stress.

To help us reap these benefits, ZenStudio, a local group fitness boutique, recently kicked off a brand-new stretch class at its Heights and Chenal locations. Kelly Ransom, fitness guru and ZenStudio instructor, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at some of the class stretches and how you can try them out at home:


1) Tricep stretch

Why: Improves flexibility and range of motion

How: Bringing right arm up, bend the elbow and bring the hand between the shoulder blades. Walk fingertips down the spine. Keep the elbow pointed up and chin lifted away from the chest. To deepen the stretch, bring left hand to the top of the elbow and gently pull. Repeat on left side.


2) Standing quad stretch

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Releases tension and stiffness that can lead to knee and back pain and other injuries

How: Use a barre bar, chair, countertop or stable surface for balance. Stand tall with feet under hips. Soften knees. Bend left leg, bring heel towards seat, grab the top of the foot with left hand. Draw hips under, slightly tucking the pelvis and keeping the knee pointing down towards the floor. Repeat with right leg.


3) Standing forward fold

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Stretches hamstrings, calves, hips and knees; calms the brain; improves digestion; reduces fatigue; and helps relieve lower back pain and headaches

How: Stand with feet directly under hips. Keep knees soft and hinge at the hips, folding torso over legs. Bend knees as much as needed to bring chest to tops of legs. Wrap arms around back of legs. Alternate bending knees to deepen the stretch in outer hips. If desired, bring hand down to floor, open chest and add a twist.


4) Wide-legged forward fold

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Strengthens and stretches the spine, inner thighs and back of legs; calms the brain; and relieves mild back pain and headaches

How: Step the legs wide, keeping feet parallel to each other. Hinge over at the hips (not waist) and bring hands or forearms to the ground. Keep knees soft, shoulders away from ears and reach tailbone toward the ceiling. Hold for a few breaths.


5) Pyramid pose:

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Stretches hamstrings, spine and hips; strengthens legs; helps improve posture, sense of balance and digestion

How: Step left foot a few feet in front of right foot, keeping heels aligned. Point front toes forward and angle back foot out slightly. Turn torso towards front foot and square hips. Press weight evenly through outer edge of back foot and big toe of front foot. Keep torso long and fold at the hips (not waist), bringing torso over front leg. Reach arms down with hands under shoulders. Extend crown of head forward and reach tailbone behind. Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on other side.


6) Low lunge

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Stretches out quadriceps, groin and hip flexors

How: Bring right foot forward between hands, ensuring right knee is stacked directly over right ankle. Lower left knee to the floor in lunge position. Slide left knee back and take top of left foot to the ground. Sink into the lunge. Leave fingertips on the ground on either side of the front foot, or lift chest and bring hands to the knee. If desired, sweep arms up. Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on other side.


7) Pigeon pose

Credit: ZenStudio Fitness

Why: Opens hips; stretches thighs, groin and hip flexors; helps calm the mind

How: Starting on all fours, place hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Bring right knee forward towards outside of right wrist. Lay right shin down, bring flexed foot down towards left hip. Roll left hip down, squaring hips towards the floor. Slide left leg back directly behind the body, straightening knee and laying top of leg and foot down. Sit up tall or gently lower upper body down, resting on right leg and extending arms. Hold here for a few breaths. Repeat on other side.


Interested in trying out more poses? Sign up for the new stretch classes with Kelly at zenstudiofitness.com and follow her on Instagram.


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