Stretching from your head to your toes with full-body stretches will target many muscle groups at the same time. These stretches address the muscles in the front and back of your body, which are connected by nerves and fasciae, which are called myofascial meridians, according to massage therapist Thomas Myers. Some yoga poses stretch these meridians while also improving your breathing, balance and core stability.
Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet together and inhale deeply.
Exhale slowly as you bend your body forward toward your toes, keeping a straight back as long as possible. Grasp your ankles, feet or toes. If you are very limber, place your fingertips or hands on the floor. Bend your knees slightly as you hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths.
Inhale gradually as you raise your body, keeping your back straight by hinging from the hips. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times.
Reverse Warrior Pose
Stand with your feet together and step back about two or three feet behind you with your left foot. Turn your left foot out so that it points to your left. Bend your right knee slightly and shift your weight toward your right foot.
Inhale as you raise your right arm overhead, pushing your hips forward and extending your back. Reach back with your left hand to hold on to your left thigh for support. Tilt your head back to look up at your right hand. If you feel steady enough, raise your left hand up to join the right, plalms together. Hold this pose for five to six deep breaths.
Lower your right arm and bring your left foot forward to resume the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.
- Anatomy Trains; Thomas Myers
- Many poses that are derived from yoga stretch your body from your head to your toes, such as Downward Dog, Prone Cobra, Camel Pose, Plow Pose and Bow Pose. If you have experience in yoga practice, add these exercises into your stretching routine.
- Do not stretch if you experience pain anywhere in your body. Check with your health-care provider before resuming or starting any workout routine.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.