Monday, October 19, 2015

Mission: Fit Monday | Figure Four Stretch


 

Now that it's getting colder outside, it's easier to feel unmotivated when it comes to exercising, or even just getting out of bed! When temperatures begin to drop, the body starts calling on its energy stores to produce heat to warm itself up, so when it comes time to hit the gym, you feel completely drained and would rather just curl up in bed. Been there, done that!

People often overlook the benefits of stretching because it doesn't produce visible changes in the physique, like bigger biceps or a more defined butt. But stretching is an easy, feel-good way to wake your body up and give you that extra push you need in the colder months to power through your workouts. Stretching not only prevents injury by improving balance, posture, and joint health, but it's also known to enhance your mood.

My favorite stretch is called the Figure Four stretch. It's great for releasing muscle tension and tightness in the hips and glutes, so it feels phenomenal after a leg/glute workout. And even if you're not big into strength training, this stretch will help relieve the soreness you get from sitting for long periods of time throughout the day.

Here's how to do it:

Begin by laying down flat on your back (You can use a yoga mat so you're not laying on the hard floor). 

Start off with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 

Lift your right leg and place your ankle just above the left knee, creating an upside-down "4" shape as pictured above.

Reach your hands behind your left thigh and draw it towards you, keeping your torso pressed against the floor. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your right hip.

Hold the stretch for 3-5 breaths, about 15-30 seconds, deepening the stretch on every exhale by pulling your thigh a little closer to you. 

Switch legs to complete the stretch on the other side.

Happy stretching!

xo – Sc

P.S. What's your favorite stretch to do? Let me know in the comments!
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