The stretch routine that made us say ‘ahhh’ this year

fBy reducing daily soreness and allowing for a more enjoyable workout, managing stress and boosting your mood, the benefits of stretching are undeniable. Stretching lengthens tight muscles and loosens fascia, allowing you to move more freely; It increases blood flow throughout your body and brain, making you feel more active and alert; And it stimulates the release of endorphins, including serotonin, which make you feel good.

Yet, stretching is easy to overlook in our hyper-optimized world. Does it stop ringing? Burn a calorie? I have the energy and motivation to run now; I don’t want to slow myself down with seven minutes of stretching!

To be completely honest, even though I know all about the benefits, I sometimes use stretching the same way I run errands or open mail. I avoid it because it takes the least amount of effort (a classic mentality of millennial burnout). But then, once I actually do it, afterwards I feel incredibly incredible because I feel physically better, and I know I’ve done something good for myself.

This year, Well+Good readers fought burnout and defied optimization culture, as our stretching routines were some of our most-watched videos in 2022. We are so excited that you are all taking the time to nurture your bodies and give of yourselves. You need.

In that spirit, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite stretching videos from the past year and organized them so you can find the right routine for the right moment. Extending a quick lunch break? We’ve got you covered. A stiff back and wrinkled chest from sitting all day? You bet. Think of this list as a menu to keep your body fit and your brain energized throughout the year.

Quick ‘n dirty stretching session

If you only have a few minutes to spare, these stress-busting and body-opening workouts will help you hit the reset button quickly.

Do a 9-minute stretch at your desk

This quick routine that stretches the hips, neck, shoulders and piriformis is the antidote to the office chair blues.

6 minute stretches every day

In just five moves, you’ll release tension in the neck, side body, shoulders, hips, hamstrings. It’s really something you can do every day.

De-stress in less than 12 minutes

Deep breathing, twisting, and child’s pose, opening from a base position on hands and knees, lying on your stomach, and lying on your back will help you release everything.

Long and luxurious stretch routines

When you really want to enjoy the opportunity to get restless, try these long routines.

A 19 minute full body stretch

From standing to kneeling, this 19-minute routine hits all the spots.

A 25-minute cooldown stretch

This yoga-inspired flow is all about stretching your body slowly, deeply, and intentionally.

Expand routines by time of day

Sometimes our body craves different things in different parts of the day. Here are stretching routines geared towards what you need for a particular moment.

16 minutes in the morning stretch

This routine will help you relax throughout the day and get the blood flowing for some extra energy.

12-minute pre-run warm-up stretch

A dynamic pre-run stretch will help you reach your full range of motion as soon as you hit the pavement or treadmill.

Cool-down stretch after a 12-minute run

Help restore your nervous system to a state of rest after flight-or-fight during vigorous exercise.

7 minutes lunch break

Make the most of that lunch break with some movement to lengthen your spine and open your shoulders.

7 minute end of day stretch

Need help transitioning from work to relaxation? This quick stretching routine will help you shake off the day.

15 minute bedtime stretch

Get the good vibes flowing with a soothing routine that will help you fall right into bed.

Expanded by body parts

When you know where you need some love.

13-minute Pilates head, neck, and shoulder stretches

Pair exercises like neck rolls with breathing and letting your mind flow as we often carry tension (our neck and shoulders).

12-Minute Stretch for Tight Hips

Forward folds, butterfly poses, and lunges will bring some relief and blood flow to your hard-working glutes in this 12-minute stretch.

10-minute chest opening stretch

Cat poses, supportive back bends, and twists will help you reduce back pain and face the world with an open heart.

14-minute hip and hamstring stretch

Pedal your feet while in downward dog and tuck your pelvis while lunging to deepen the lower body.

13 minute stretch for sciatica

Stretching the piriformis over the sciatic nerve will give that compressed space some breathing room.

11-Minute Shoulder and Neck Stretch (with Self Massage!)

Give yourself a gentle rub and some loving twists and circles in this stretch that is a true act of self-care.

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