Elf on the shelf doing a downward dog pose.

On the Sixth day with Premier, my true love gave to me… “6 Stretchy Stretches” for the Holidays! Special guest Winchester the Physical Therapy Elf, here to show you the benefits, hows, and what stretches necessary to target most of the human body helping you achieve relief for the seasonal stretchy time.

1. DOWNWARD DOG STRETCHY

STRETCHES (HAND, CALF, HAMSTRING, SHOULDER, ARCHES OF THE FOOT) 

How: Plant your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart. Next, lift your hips into the air keeping your head level with your arms so your body has the inverted V-shape while keeping the soles of your feet planted shoulder width apart. Lift to tension and hold till desired time.

Benefits: This stretchy focuses on positioning the body into an inverted V-shape entailing the whole body into the stretch. It has been shown to improve the immune system, digestion, blood flow, calms the mind, and lifts you into the holiday spirit!

Elf on the shelf doing a butterfly stretchy.

2. BUTTERFLY STRETCHY

STRETCHES (INNER THIGHS, GROIN, HIPS, LOWER BACK) 

How: Sitting down, place the soles of your feet pressed together with your knees dropped to the sides. Grab your feet with your hands and pull yourself slightly forward while pressing your thighs downward with your elbows.

Benefits: This stretchy loosens and lengthens the inner thigh muscles while opening up the hips and thighs to improve flexibility. Targeting the groin area, this stretch and exercises hitting similar muscle groups will help build posture and mobility.

Elf on the shelf doing a seated neck release stretchy.

3. SEATED NECK RELEASE STRETCHY

STRETCHES (SIDES OF THE NECK, TRAPEZIUS) 

How: Sitting on the floor with your back upright, centered, and legs crossed, extend your arm planting your hand on the ground by your side. Take your other arm and place your hand on the top opposite side of your head and gently pull your head towards the side opposite of the planted hand. Repeat with the other arm and other side of neck.

Benefits: This stretchy improves flexibility throughout the upper back, shoulders, and chest. This stretch also promotes proper posture sitting upright and the spine alignment helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Elf on the shelf doing an arm across the chest stretchy.

4. ARM ACROSS CHEST STRETCHY

STRETCHES (SHOULDER, POSTERIOR DELTOID MUSCLE) 

How: Take a straightened arm and bring it across your chest. Using the other arm, wrap it close to the elbow of the straightened arm and pull it across your chest till you feel a slight tense in the shoulder and back muscles of the straightened arm. Repeat with the other arm.

Benefits: This stretchy increases flexibility, mobility, and range of motion of the shoulder joint and back muscles. It is helpful in eliminating chronic shoulder pain and prevents abnormal scapular mechanics that can lead to pain.

Elf on the shelf doing a trunk rotation stretch.

5. TRUNK ROTATION STRETCHY

STRETCHES (LOWER BACK, HIPS) 

How: Laying your back to the floor, keep one leg straight. Take the other leg and bring it across while rising the knee to hip level and turning the lower part of your body. Keep your upper body flat with the opposite arm of the straightened leg extended on the ground. Take the opposite arm of the raised leg and push on the knee to the ground till the lower back feels a tense feeling and hold for desired amount of time. Repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits: This stretch benefits in providing flexibility to the hips and lower back while also providing relief for lower back pain. To keep your back healthy, focusing on keeping it strong, mobile, and flexible will help in preventing injuries and sclerosis.

Elf on the shelf doing a lunging calf stretch.

6. LUNGING CALF STRETCHY

STRETCHES (CALVES) 

How: Place arms extended on a close wall shoulder width apart. Bring one leg forward in a lunging position while keeping the other leg extended and planted on the sole of the foot. Lunge forward till a tense feeling is felt in the calf of the extended leg. Repeat the process for the opposite leg.

Benefits: This stretch benefits the human body with increased range of motion and flexibility in the calf which decreases the frequency of leg cramps. It also prevents a number of injuries such as Shin Splints, Achilles Tendonitis, and Plantar Fasciitis.

Average Joe making elf on the shelf do different positions.

EXTRA – JOSEPH JUHASZ / ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

STRETCHES (THE BODY OF WINCHESTER TO KEEP HIM IN TIP TOP SHAPE) 

How: By attaching pieces of tape to hold the elf in various positions and poses.

Benefits: A valuable member of the Premier Physical Therapy family.

Don’t forget, you may qualify for direct access with a physical therapist at one of our 15 locations. There’s your “6 Stretchy Stretches for the Holidays”, and join us tomorrow for the next day in “12 Days of Premier”. 

SOURCES

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15438627.2016.1258640

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2014/05000/The_Effects_of_Stretching_on_Performance.12.aspx

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