Living in or around the city of Fort Lauderdale means that you get to enjoy a seemingly endless summer. When the sun is shining brightly in the sky and the surf is right, there's no better place to be than lounging on the beach with your toes in the sand. If you've been looking at your bathing suit with some skepticism, get ahead and start working on your beach body today.
Regardless of age, weight, or gender, the key to toning your body is by first strengthening your core. Stretching is a crucial component to exercise, and torso twists, contractions, and stretches make your abdominal muscles stronger and more stable. If you're trying to trim down or tighten up before you hit the beach this summer, check out these best beach body stretches as prescribed by a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor.
The Seated Twist
This stretch goes by many names. Traditional yogis refer to it as Ardha Matsyendrasana, some call it a half spinal seated twist, and at ChiroCare of Fort Lauderdale, we refer to it as the piriformis stretch. The piriformis is a muscle that runs from the lower back to the thigh bone. This stretching exercise targets the abs, obliques, and back.
How to perform the seated twist:
- Sit on the floor or mat with both legs stretched straight out in front of you. Bend the right leg at the knee and cross it over the left knee, placing your right foot flat on the floor.
- Twist your body toward the bent knee, holding it with the left arm if necessary.
- Keep twisting until you feel a gentle stretch and hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Named after the infamous pose of the deadly cobra, the cobra stretch builds a more flexible, stronger spine. This feel-good stretch also strengthens ab muscles and the upper body, helping to reduce stubborn body fat. If you're getting fit in Fort Lauderdale, the cobra stretch can help get your abdominals in check.
How to perform the cobra stretch:
- Lie flat on your stomach, beginning with your forehead resting on the ground or on your mat.
- Stretch out both legs and position your palms directly beneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel. Slowly lift up, so your toes and chin are now touching the floor.
- Slowly inhale and try to raise your chest upwards until both arms are completely straight - if yours are still slightly curved, that's okay so long as you are comfortable. Try to arch your back backward to complete the stretch, but do so slowly, and stop if you feel any resistance.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, depending on your strength level.
- Exhale slowly and bring your body back down to a resting position. Repeat the stretch five times, resting for 15 seconds between each stretch.
The chair stretch is a phenomenal low-impact method of toning the buttocks and thighs while also strengthening the core muscles. Your Fort Lauderdale chiropractor will warn you, though - if you have an existing back or knee injury, stay away from this stretch until fully healed. While a fantastic option for working your trouble areas, this stretch utilizes both the lower back and knee for stability - if you're currently experiencing any pain in those areas, the chair stretch could exacerbate it.
How to safely perform the chair stretch:
- Stand straight and tall, keeping your hands straight out in front of you.
- Gradually raise your hands above your head while bending your knees, so that your thighs become parallel with the floor.
- Bend the torso slightly forward with slowly inhaling.
- Hold this position for as long as you can comfortably, then return to the standing position.
- Repeat three to five times, taking a 15-minute break in between each stretch. If you feel pain at any point, stop immediately.
No pose will have you feeling stronger in your own skin than the warrior stretch. This powerful stretch targets the core abdominal muscles, the back, and the hips. Not only will this pose create a gentle stretch that can shake the stiffness of the work week, but its gentle, lunge-like motion will help tighten and tone the body.
How to perform the warrior stretch:
- Begin in a standing position with both feet forward. Take a big step backward with your left foot. Rotate the left foot 45 degrees so it points toward the center of your mat.
- Bend your right leg 90 degrees so that the knee is directly above the ankle. Keep the back leg straight with the foot slightly turned.
- Reach your right arm forward and stretch the left arm straight backward. Hold this pose for 25-30 seconds.
- Step back into your original standing position and repeat on the opposite side.
The Seated Side Bend
Gear up for bathing suit season with this simple beach body stretch. At ChiroCare of Fort Lauderdale, our physicians recommend the seated side bend for a low-impact stretch that not only alleviates tension in the lower back and shoulders but also targets the core. This easy-to-follow stretching exercise focuses on the obliques, abs, shoulders, and the back.
How to perform the seated side bend:
- Begin on the floor with your legs crossed. If this is not comfortable, you can sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Lift your left arm straight up above your head and lean it to the right, creating an arc with your arm. You will feel a gentle stretch in your left side.
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, then switch sides.
Getting Beach-Ready in Fort Lauderdale
The sun is shining and the waves are calling. With the help of a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor, you can get started working towards a beach body that's strong and healthy. Contact ChiroCare of Florida today.