Liz’s simple 10-minute stretch routine
Looking for a simple stretch routine? Liz’s easy 10-minute sequence could be just the ticket.
The chilly, wintry days can mean less activity outside and more time huddled indoors, leading to stiffer muscles, increased backache and shoulder tension. Here, Liz shares her top six simple stretches to shake off stress, loosen limbs and re-energise. Try this simple set twice a day – and feel the difference.
Safety tip: Stretches can feel uncomfortable but should never be painful. Ease the stretch or come out of the pose entirely if you feel any pain.
Simple 10-minute simple stretch routine
Try this classic Pilates technique to loosen the spine and release stiffness in the back, shoulders and neck.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage your core and draw your shoulders down as you begin to roll downwards, leading with your chin on your chest, folding at the shoulders, continuing the roll for as far down towards your feet as you can comfortably manage, all the time sucking navel towards spine.
- Hang loosely like a rag doll to release tension. Avoid locking into the knees.
- Engage your core once more and roll up, vertebrae by vertebrae, until standing tall.
- Repeat two or three times.
This wonderfully simple twist uses a pole or broom handle to help twist and mobilise the spine, enabling the back and shoulders to twist a little further than on their own.
Keep shoulders down and rotate side to side from the waist, twisting a little further each time and only going as far as feels comfortable.
Stretch out the front of your legs and into the hips with this pose.
- Stand tall and engage core for stability (hold onto the back of a chair for safety support if needed).
- Catch your foot in your hand and pull back gently, feeling the stretch down the front of the thigh.
- Keep your knees in line, tuck hips forwards and tail bone under.
- Hold for a count of 10 before releasing and repeating on the other side.
This lovely, simple move is a good way to rebalance shoulders hunched over a screen for too long.
- Stand tall and interlace your fingers behind your back.
- Keeping your shoulders down, draw your shoulder blades gently towards one another, stretching across the chest.
- Draw your knuckles down towards the earth, keeping your neck and spine long.
- Hold for a count of 10 before releasing.
Following on from the previous exercise in this simple stretch routine, fold your shoulders forwards, rounding the upper back to release any tension held here.
Feel the shoulders opening, creating a space between the shoulder blades to encourage the stretch.
Gently draw the chin towards the chest, feeling a stretch down the back of the neck.
Each tension from your neck with this simple pose.
- Stand tall, and engage the core. Feel the pelvic floor lifting.
- Gently lower your left ear towards your left shoulder. If you wish, you can lightly place your hand on top of your head, without pulling.
- You may also wish to stretch through your right finger tips, drawing the shoulder down slightly to increase the sensation.
- Hold for a count of 10, before releasing and repeating on the opposite side.