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31 Stretches to Help You Become More Flexible


Originally posted:

It's easy to go through life without stretching. After all, a traditional workday can involve eight hours sitting at a desk, an hour or so of commuting, sitting in front of the TV, and so on. Even after a workout, you might need to rush out of the gym without a proper cool down. So it's no wonder many of us are complaining about joint pain and stiffness.


"The nice thing about gentle stretching is that it's feasible to do when you're in pain—and often provides the fastest relief," Jamie Costello, fitness director at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, previously told


Below, we've listed 31 of the best stretches to alleviate pain and increase your flexibility and range of motion. These stretches will also help avoid injury during cardio or strength workouts. Gently lean into each position and observe which ones feel particularly challenging. Choose four of those and aim to do them once a day, every day, and you'll become more flexible within weeks.


What you need: a lacrosse ball or massage ball, a strap, exercise band, a foam roller, and a yoga mat


Hold times: Aim to hold the position for at least 2 minutes unless stated otherwise in the instructions (for example, the neck stretch should be done in about 30 seconds). If 2 minutes feels too difficult at first, simply hold for as long as you can. Aim to beat your previous stretch time with each new session.


Pro tips: Avoid pushing your body past its limits. You do not want to experience any pain when performing these stretches. And don't worry too much about where you should be feeling the stretch. The truth is, this can vary person to person. Attempt the stretch as best you can and observe where you feel tight. Use any suggested modifications if need be and trust that your body is releasing whatever it needs to so you can become more comfortable in the position.