5 important full-body stretches you can do at home

·3-min read
Beautiful Asian women warm up before exercising at home. She is listening to music from her smartphone.
A woman warms up before exercising at home. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Now that we're seeing work-from-home arrangements are here to stay, it's important now than ever to take a breather and have in place regular checks on our physical and mental wellbeing.

Long hours at your makeshift work table (if you're like me, using the dining table) can cause a toll on your body and muscles. That is why it is important that you fit in a 10-minute stretch session to help promote blood circulation. Not only that, if you partake in a workout session, it can aid in tension relieving and give you a boost in endorphins - chemicals in your brain that work as painkillers - which helps you to sleep better and reduce stress.

F45 Recovery Athlete Cristina Chan shares with us some tips to stretch your muscles while working from home, which we think would be beneficial for your overall wellbeing.

1. Inchworm/Walkouts

Target areas: Shoulders, Core, Hamstrings

Break away from the incessant crouching over a screen or device with this first stretch which works to lessen lower back stress. Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Hinging from your hips, reach down and place your hands flat on the floor in front of your feet. Next, shift your weight onto your hands and begin walking yourself forward into a high plank position. Engage your core and keep your hands directly under your shoulders. Walk hands backwards and return to the starting position. Repeat two or three rounds of 45 seconds.

2. Standing Alternating Figure Four Stretch

Target areas: glutes, hips, quad, back, shoulders

Take a break from sitting and get your blood circulating every hour or so with this figure four stretch! Stand at arms' length in front of a chair, table, railing, bannister or other similarly sturdy objects. Cross your right foot over your left thigh, slightly above the knee. Hinge at your hip and bend your left knee into a single-leg squat position. You'll feel a stretch in your right glute and your left ankle. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and hold onto the chair. Let your chest drop as you look down at the floor. You'll feel a stretch along your shoulders and upper back. Hold for at least 5 seconds and then alternate to the opposite leg, repeat for time.

3. Arm Circles

Target areas: Shoulders, Chest, Back

This is a good one to do even if you’re in the office. Give your arms and back a break from typing and scrolling with some arm circles. To relax your upper body, simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out to the side, parallel with the floor. Circle your arms forward using small, controlled movements. Gradually increase the size of the circles until you feel a stretch. Then, reverse the direction of your circles for an equal count.

4. Standing Windmill Toe Touch Stretch

Target areas: Hamstrings, Back

Put a spin on the classic standing toe-touch and rotate your torso for extra core strengthening and spinal decompression. Stand shoulder-width apart with arms extended at shoulder height. Twist your body and touch your opposite toes with your opposite hand. Alternate both sides for an equal count. This dynamic stretch introduces active movements to maintain smooth joint motions while working on total-body stability.

5. Standing Alternating Quad Stretch

Target areas: Quads, Hips

Great for a warm-up anytime, anywhere, this simple stretch can be done standing or lying sideways. The latter is recommended for individuals facing knee pain as it reduces the weight placed on the other knee. To carry out this stretch, stand on your left leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold a chair or the wall to keep you steady if needed. Grab your right foot, using your right hand, and pull it towards your glutes. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, then repeat, switching from your left leg to your right.

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