When you're young and nimble, it seems like you can do just about anything without stretching. There was no need to stretch out your muscles 20 years ago, but that's not really the case now.
As you age, your body becomes less flexible, especially if you aren't stretching every day. If you have a sit-down job, for example, you run the risk of becoming less flexible more quickly than someone who moves around a lot throughout the day.
There is some good news, though - you can help combat this aging process by doing daily stretches that give your body the chance to move. You'll also be able to find some peace of mind (and have a moment of quiet) while doing these stretches. According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching can help reduce the risk of injury and help your joints work properly.
Best of all, you can even do these before you get out of bed in the morning.
1. Spine twist
Lay on your back, bend your legs and put your feet together on the floor. As you exhale, lower both legs to the right and rotate your head to the left. Relax in this position. Then, rotate your legs to the left and your head to the right, again relaxing as your spine opens up and surrounding muscles begin to wake up.
You can also twist your spine while sitting up, with your legs crossed. Pull your right hand over to your left side and hold, breathing deeply. Repeat with your left arm, on your right side.
2. Eye of the needle
Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your right ankle over your left knee, as if you were sitting. Imagine the space between your two legs as the eye of a needle and thread your right hand through the eye of the needle, meeting your left hand around the back side of your left leg. Gently pull your left leg in toward your body, feeling the stretch on the right, outer hip and thigh region.
3. Knee press
Lay on your back. Bend both legs and use your hands to bring your knees toward your chest, opening them slightly. This opens up the tailbone region at the base of your spine and stretches those muscles.
Make a table pose by standing on all fours and putting your hands and knees at your hips' width. Round your back and hang your head down. Then, lift your pelvis and chest toward the ceiling, so that your stomach moves toward the floor. Lift your head. Do this back and forth several times, while breathing deeply to stretch the muscles around the spine.
These stretches are especially beneficial to those who are sitting throughout the day. If you have an "on your feet" type of job, these areas can tense up, too. By stretching them in the morning when you wake up and then again before going to bed, you give your muscles a greater chance for long-term flexibility.