Forward Fold Stretch
Sep 19, 2018
Sometimes I wish there was just one exercise or stretch I could do daily, that would act as a catch-all. It would relieve tension, stretch muscles, and leave my body feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. There isn't such a thing, unfortunately, but I have worked with something that is close: the forward fold. It's similar to the stretch we all did in school (bend forward and touch your toes) but it is more refined and more intentional.
This stretch is amazing if you are working at a desk all day. It only takes 2 minutes and will actually leave you feeling refreshed. To understand why, let's look at what the forward fold looks like and what muscles it stretches.
Take your feet shoulder width apart. If you are more comfortable, you might want to start with a counter in front of you for stability.
Stand tall and roll your shoulders back. Take a large inhale, and let your arms hang loosely. During your exhale, allow your bottom to move backwards, meaning you are hinging forward at your hips. If you are feeling your back round, stop, try again. The fold is all at the hips.
Keeping your knees straight, you will start to feel a stretch in your hamstrings as your bottom moves further back. This is good!
Try to keep your chest up as you fold forward. This will protect your back.
When you feel a strong stretch behind your knees, stop, and allow your head and arms to relax completely. Keep your legs active here so your back stays safe.
After 20-30 seconds, you can start to straighten back up, rolling up over each vertebrae until you are standing up safely again.
This stretch activates your abdominals, quads and calves. It stretches the muscles of the hip, hamstrings and lower back. These are muscles that are usually left tight and sore from sitting at a desk.
Start slowly and don't over do this stretch! A qualified Physiotherapist can give personalized tips for this pose but you can do this safely on your own as long as you don't push yourself and be mindful of your own body.