Stretching exercises can not only increase your flexibility, they improve your driving performance. Here are five stretches to help lift your game, writes Steve Roberts
TO INCREASE or maintain flexibility and muscle suppleness, a five-minute stretching session every day prior to work and throughout the day is recommended to: • Increase flexibility and freedom of movement • Reduce muscle tension • Remove muscle waste products • Reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
HOW TO STRETCH
• Use the actions, variations and cautions for safety and effectiveness • Follow the guide on how many repetitions or the time to perform the stretch • Stretch to the point of light tension – never pain • Breathe and relax into stretch. Entire stretching session should take five minutes.
1. CHIN TUCK
Action: • Using your fingers, draw the chin back a small distance, maintaining the vertical orientation of the face while continuing to look forward • The movement creates a double chin • Hold for a few seconds and repeat
five times. Cautions: Do not flex the head forward. Discontinue if pain or discomfort is experienced.
Action: • Sit tall with good spinal alignment • Keep chin tucked in • Push chest out and upward as rolling
shoulders back • Push hands away and upward • Hold for 30 seconds. Variations: Push arms back and to the left or right, to vary the angle of the stretch. Also vary the height of the arm lift using the armrests. Lift arms higher, within comfort limits.
3. WRIST FLEXOR
Action: • Hold the top of your fingers with the opposite hand and lightly pull backward and toward your body until your feel a light stretch • Hold for 30 seconds (both hands). Variations: Use a desk to lean fingers and wrists against the edge to assist with the stretch by pushing palm downwards. Cautions: If you have a history of wrist injury or other wrist pathologies, seek advice prior to this stretch.
4. WRIST EXTENSORS
Action: • Cross forearms • Bring your palms together • Interlace fingers • Straighten the elbow and flex the wrist by pulling the fingers towards the outside of the elbow • Keep the elbow straight and the shoulders relaxed while flexing the fingers • Hold for 30 seconds (both sides).
5. SEATED TORSO ROTATION
Action: • Sit with your feet flat on the floor • Sit tall, elongating your spine • Hold the edge of the chair with both hands • Exhale and slowly twist to one side • Hold for five seconds • Inhale as you slowly return to the centre • Each alternating side equals one rep; perform five repetitions each side. Cautions: Don’ t lean forward; keep your head and neck inline with your torso and arms.
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