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This Woman Took Two Different Photos in the Same Outfit to Prove How Deceptive Social Media Is

If all the “perfect” full-body selfies that end up in your social feed tend to make you feel bad about your own shape, then this eye-opening news is for you.

In a before-and-after Instagram post, influencer Rini Frey shared two images, both taken on the same day while dressed in the same outfit. The photo on the left is a posed photo of Frey flexing in her underwear, with the words “my body” on it. The image on the right shows Frey sitting in the same high-waisted underwear, titled “also my body.”

RELATED: 5 Inspiring Fitness Influencers to Follow on Instagram

Her point? Your body can look very different depending on the angle you shoot a photo from as well as how you adjust the clothes you have on.

The pictures of “perfect bodies” you see on Instagram… don’t let them get you down. Most of them don’t represent reality and if they do, it doesn’t mean that these bodies belong to a healthy and happy human. It’s just what we are made to believe, but it’s mostly not true. Our bodies are pretty incredible machines that never ever take a break. Day in day out, minute after minute, from birth to death, our bodies do the work without ever resting. Pumping blood through our veins, making our heart beat in our chest, allowing us to move, drive, walk, travel, see, smell, hear, taste and FEEL love, happiness and positive energy. So, why do we as a society put all our focus on how little fat needs to sit under our skin, how we can make our muscles pop, how we can shape our body in a way that isn’t natural or how we can hold back from feeding our body for as long as possible? 🤔 As I’m posting this, I am placing a hand on my heart and thanking my body for sticking with me through years of self-punishment, self-loathing, starvation, stuffing it with food, purging food, beating it down and destroying it with way too much exercise. Thank you, body, for never letting me down, even though I always used to think you did. I was wrong and I’m sorry. I don’t care what you look like as long as you are healthy and happy. . . . What are you thanking your body for today? . . . _______________________________________ Undies: @dearkates #healthtips #selflove #bodyacceptance #edrecovery #recoveryisworthit #prorecovery #bodypositive #bodyposipanda #buzzfeed #selfmagazine #womenempowerment #embracethesquish #bodytransformation #yycfitness #bodyimageissues #loveyourskin

A post shared by Rini Frey (@ownitbabe) on Jun 9, 2018 at 8:44am PDT

“Don’t let them get you down,” she captioned the post, referring to other influencers who adjust and pose in ways that make them look fitter, thinner, and more toned than they really are. “Most of them don’t represent reality and if they do, it doesn’t mean that these bodies belong to a healthy and happy human. It’s just what we are made to believe, but it’s mostly not true.”

Frey didn’t just use this as an opportunity to shed light on camera tricks and clothing adjustments. Instead, she praised the human body, describing it as an “incredible machine.” 

RELATED: 7 Influencers Show How One Small Trick Can Change the Look of Your Butt in Seconds

“Our bodies do the work without ever resting,” she wrote. “Pumping blood through our veins, making our heart beat in our chest, allowing us to move, drive, walk, travel, see, smell, hear, taste and FEEL love, happiness and positive energy. So, why do we as a society put all our focus on how little fat needs to sit under our skin, how we can make our muscles pop, how we can shape our body in a way that isn’t natural or how we can hold back from feeding our body as long as possible?”

Frey tells Health she felt motivated to share this inspiring post after a massive outreach from some of her 30,000 followers.

“I get so many DMs from young girls saying that they hate their bodies and I believe a big part of it is comparing themselves to ‘perfect bodies’ they see on Instagram,” she says. “Our bodies deserve our love and respect, instead of picking it apart every day.” 

Yet Frey admitted in her post that she hasn’t always felt positive about her own body.

“As I’m posting this, I am placing a hand on my heart and thanking my body for sticking with me through years of self-punishment, self-loathing, starvation, stuffing it with food, purging food, beating it down and destroying it with way too much exercise,” she continued. “Thank you, body, for never letting me down, even though I always used to think you did. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

This 10-Minute Yoga Flow Will Loosen Up Your Tight Hips

Stuck in front of a computer all day? Spending too much time parked in your desk chair can trigger your muscles to relax and deactivate—which doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing, except that over time it can lead to tight hips.

Excessively tight hips can have an effect on your workouts and even your sex life (yikes). Weightlifters with tight hips aren’t able to find a nice, deep squat, and runners end up with a shorter stride and a slower pace. In the bedroom, tight hips can limit your range of motion during intercourse, and the number of positions you and your partner can try.

RELATED VIDEO: The Co-Founder of NYC’s Trendiest Yoga Studio Shows Us 3 Big Mistakes She Sees

This 10-minute yoga flow designed to open up your hips might be exactly what we all need in our lives. In the video above, yoga instructor Chloe Kernaghan, the co-founder of New York studio Sky Ting, demonstrates a series of moves that will help with your flexibility, movement, and comfort.

Kernaghan starts the yoga flow with the reclined pigeon pose, which warms up the hips and works the outer thighs. She encourages trying to pull your knee closer to your chest, which helps you get a deeper stretch in the outer seam of the opposite hip. “If the hips are super tight, you’re welcome to take a little bit of a rocking action from right to left, but sometimes staying in stillness and just taking some deep breaths is plenty to start to open up,” says Kernaghan.

She then moves to a cross-legged seat, and tells us that we eventually want ankles and knees stacked. If the hips feel tight in this position, she recommends using a block or blanket. Kernaghan points out that “hips can be so different between the right and left sides of the body,” and tells us to pay attention to the difference, and what’s going on in our physical space.

Later Kernaghan demos a lizard pose, and explains that it’s good to rock back and forth in this position to get the thigh bones deeper into their own sockets. She wraps up the flow by having us lie on our backs, to allow the heat that we’ve conjured through our hips to release into the floor.

5 Exercises to Get You Ready for a 5K

As is the case with training for all distances from 800 meters to 100K, optimal 5K training programs incorporate strength and power training to optimize performance. Although strength training is often excluded from many runners’ training programs or treated as occasional cross-training to be completed on non-running days, it is the backbone of great endurance training. The following exercises, as well as additional exercises to develop strength and endurance, can be found in Running Science.

1. Side Sit-Up

Lie on one side with both legs extended and raised slightly off the floor. The side of the upper torso in contact with the floor should lie relaxed on the floor. Place the hand of the bottom arm on the floor to the front so that the arm is perpendicular to the body. Place the hand of the top arm lightly on the back of the head. (Do not pull on the head or neck during the exercise.)

Slowly raise the torso, contracting the abdominal muscles on the top side of the trunk and raising the legs at the same time. Slowly lower the upper torso and the legs back to the starting position on the floor to complete one rep. Don’t let the upper body fall to the floor in an uncontrolled manner. Complete 15 reps on one side and then 15 on the other.

More: 8 Best Core-Strengthening Exercises for Runners

2. High Lunge

Stand on a six-inch platform or step so that the forward, lunging foot will undergo an exaggerated downward acceleration. Start with erect posture and feet directly under the shoulders; step down and forward with one foot. After the forward foot makes contact with the ground, move into a squat position so that the thigh of the forward leg becomes almost parallel with the ground. The upper body may incline forward slightly as this happens. Emphasize action of the gluteal muscles and hamstrings to reverse the squat and return the forward leg onto the platform, under the trunk. Complete one rep by returning to the start position.

More: Hip Strengthening and Mobility Exercises for Runners

3. Low-Back Extension with a Twist

Lie on the stomach with arms by the sides, hands extended toward feet, and palms touching the floor. Contract the back muscles to lift and twist the upper body to one side during the first rep. Return to the starting position and then lift and twist the torso to the other side during the second rep. Continue alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions. Be sure to fully untwist the upper body each time the trunk moves back toward the ground so that the stomach and chest, not the sides, touch the ground. Perform these movements rhythmically and smoothly while maintaining good control.

More: 5 Core Exercises That Increase Stability and Running Efficiency

4. Sprint Hop

Hop as quickly as possible for 20 meters, or 66 feet, on one foot, emphasizing extremely quick contact with the ground and forceful forward explosions each time the foot hits the ground. Without stopping or resting, hop 20 more meters on the other foot. Without interruption, repeat the exercise on the first foot and then the other foot. Recover by doing one minute of light jogging. Repeat this hopping and recovery sequence five more times.

A key progression with sprint hopping is to begin performing some of the reps on a hill. Start with a gently sloping incline of about three percent and gradually work up to a 10 percent incline, if possible, and hop both uphill and downhill. Maintain good form and balance at all times and avoid the temptation to look down at the hopping foot.

More: 7 Best Plyometric Exercises to Improve Running Economy

5. Two-Leg Hurdle Hop

Position eight hurdles in a row, 45 inches apart, with the height of each hurdle set at 23 inches. Starting from one end, jump over each hurdle, landing and taking off on two legs until all eight hurdles have been cleared. Maintain continuous movement. Minimize ground-contact time with each landing, and try to be as explosive as possible. Once you have cleared the eighth hurdle, jog back to the beginning point and repeat four more times for five reps in all. Avoid taking little hops between hurdles and making more than one contact between hurdles. This exercise may also be performed on one leg at a time as a progression.

Running Science is a one-of-a-kind resource that offers the most advanced and in-depth coverage on running. In addition to providing detailed information on strength-training exercises for runners, it includes a wealth of insights distilled from great sport and exercise scientists, coaches and runners. The easily comprehended repository of running research offers an array of the most credible and widely used training principles and programs, and is a celebration of the latest science-based know-how of running. It is available in bookstores everywhere or online at HumanKinetics.com.

More: How Do I Run a Faster 5K?

Sign up for your next 5K.
This article originally appeared on Active.com

5 Power Lunges for Killer Glutes

These moves come to you from four top Daily Burn 365 trainers. For a new, 30-minute workout every day, head to DailyBurn.com/365.

Now that spring has finally sprung, you might be itching to run your first 5K or break a new personal record at your next half-marathon. While it’s true you need to mix up your paces to run faster, doing lower-body exercises, such as power lunges, helps you run more efficiently and carry you through longer runs. When you’re at the last leg of your race, your mind and heart will thank your hamstrings, glutes, and calves for helping you cross the finish line.

And that’s not all. If cardio isn’t your thing, lunges will bring the heat in other ways. Hello, mobility and power! Lunges will also help improve your coordination and balance since the move is broken down into single-leg components. Plus, you don’t need any equipment to fit these lower body moves in and reap the benefits.

“Lunges strengthen your lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings and calves,”says Daily Burn 365 trainer Gregg Cook. “But what makes lunges different from a squat that it challenges your balance. You have a broader base for support with a squat, but with a lunge, you have a split stance, which makes it inherently more difficult to balance,” he says. “Lunges are also more dynamic, and your body needs to re-adjust to absorb the body weight and figure out where it is in space.”

Here are some beginner-friendly power lunges to get started.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

 

 

 5 Lunges for Stronger Legs and Glutes

GIF: Daily Burn 365

1. Lateral Lunges
If plyometric exercises put pressure on your knees, consider this side lunge, which helps strengthen the muscles around your knees and improves flexibility and hip mobility, too. These classic lateral lunges also help stretch your hamstrings (a godsend for runners), while engaging your core.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides (a). Take a big step back with your right leg and land on the ball of your foot (b). Bring your hands together as you lower your body down to the floor while bending your knees. Make sure your right knee doesn’t touch the floor. Your left knee should form a 90-degree angle to the floor (c). Next, reverse your lunge and return to the starting position (d). Then, take a big step to your right and bend your knee as you lower your body and bring your hands together. Make sure your knee doesn’t extend past your right toes (e). Sit your hips back into the stretch and keep your left leg straight with your feet flat on the floor. Reverse your position and return to the starting position (f). Do eight reps of one reverse and lateral lunge on each leg before moving onto the other side.

RELATED: 5 Calorie-Blasting Cardio Exercises (No Treadmill Required!)

GIF: Daily Burn 365

2. Standing Split Lunge
Once you feel more comfortable with balancing on one leg, this standing split lunge is perfect for adding more pep into your step and transitioning into plyometric lunges. It’s also a great active stretch to warm up your body before a workout. You even engage your core muscles, while increasing your heart rate to boot.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your hands at your sides (a). Take a big step back with your right leg and land on the ball of your foot (b). As you lower your body down to the floor, bring your right hand forward and your left hand back (c). Make sure your right knee hovers over the floor, and your left knee forms a 90-degree angle to the floor (d). Now, straighten your left leg and pop up to draw your right leg in front of you (e). Return to a reverse lunge and do eight reps before moving onto your left side.

RELATED: The 12 Move Total-Body Workout: The Daily Burn Dozen

GIF: Daily Burn 365

3. Pendulum Lunges
This variation challenges your balance and coordination further by applying more pressure on one set of muscles at a time. And while this one is performed without weights, as you get stronger, you can consider adding dumbbells.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands at your hips (a). Take a big step forward with your right leg, and lower your body down to the ground, bending your right knee to form a 90-degree angle to the floor (b). Once you’ve lowered your body to the floor, clasp your hands under your right thigh. Hold this position for a few seconds before unclasping your hands and returning to standing position (c). Now, take a step back with your right leg to do a reverse lunge, clasping your hands under your left thigh (d). Reverse your lunge and return to the starting position (e). Do eight pendulum lunges on each side.

RELATED: The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing

4. Lunge to Back Hand
These pulsing lunges train your glutes in a new way, while activating your arm muscles as well. We don’t use dumbbells in this exercise, but you can work your way up to incorporating weights or a body bar.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your arms at each sides shoulder height (a). Take a big step back with your right leg and land on the ball of your foot (b). As you lower your body to the floor and pulse your right leg, bring your arms forward, crossing your arms out in front of you (c). Do eight reps on each side.

RELATED: 5 Strength Training Moves to Help You Run Faster

GIF: Daily Burn 365

5. Plyo Lunges
A perfect combination of cardio and strength, these plyometric lunges get your heart rate up while toning your muscles and burning fat. In this variation, we pause to do a lunge after two jumps.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides. Step your right foot back and your left foot in front (a). Lower your body to the ground, keeping your right knee bent and your left knee perpendicular to the ground (b). Scissor jump your legs twice and land with your right foot in front and your left foot is behind. Be sure to land with both knees bent to provide you with support (c). Three sets of eight reps.

Want more quick and easy moves you can do right at home, head to DailyBurn.com/365 — it’s free for 30 days!

This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.

More from Daily Burn:

5 Beginner-Friendly CrossFit Workouts

The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs
This article originally appeared on Life by Daily Burn.

 

This Syrian Swimmer Helped Save a Boat Full of Fellow Refugees—Now She’s Training for the Olympics

This profile is part of Health’s #RealLifeStrong series, where we are celebrating women who represent strength, resilience, and grace.

You’re on a sinking boat—what would you do? It may sound like a hypothetical question to most people, but it was a very real one for Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer who helped rescue fellow refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea during a traumatic journey from Turkey to Greece.

Around 15 minutes into the trip, the engine of the crammed, inflatable dinghy failed, and the 20 passengers, including Yusra and her older sister Sara, found themselves facing almost certain death. Most of the others couldn’t swim, so that terrifying night it fell to the Mardinis and two young men to jump overboard into cold, rough waters and push the boat to land—a Herculean effort that took nearly four hours.

Yusra narrates the story in her new book, Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian—My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph. “Either we drown, or we arrive,” she recalls thinking to herself. “Just survive, stay alive another five minutes. Let your body take over. Trust it.”

Trusting her body is something Yusra, now 20, has had to learn how to do as an athlete, but it hasn’t always been possible. In 2016, only months after her harrowing trip, she swam at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team.

“I didn’t accept the idea at the beginning… the idea of being a refugee,” she says now. “But then, slowly, I saw how much people believed in me, how people respected our stories, and how much people cheered for us. I felt I had a responsibility not only to one country, but the whole world.”

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Yusra competed in the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly. And while she didn’t advance to the semi-finals in either event, she became a symbol of hope around the globe, later being named the youngest-ever Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and one of Time magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016.

But looking back, Yusra says, she wasn’t prepared for the immense physical challenge of competing in the Olympics so soon after her journey. “To be honest, I was not trusting my body 100%,” she explained during a recent interview from Berlin, Germany, where she eventually settled and now lives. (Her whole family has been granted temporary asylum there.) “I trusted my heart more than I trusted my body back then. My body was not ready because of the trip… I slept on the ground; that was bad for my back. I ate unhealthy food, I didn’t drink enough water, I slept in the cold. My body was destroyed.”

To be a top athlete, she adds, “you need to focus mentally, you need to take care of what you’re eating, you need to keep your body healthy. Even if it’s summer and a little bit windy, you need to wear a hat as a swimmer, for example. You have to be fully concentrated on swimming. One different thing about what you’re doing, maybe it’s going to make you waste one week of training… We work years for one race that’s one minute.”

RELATED: Crippling Depression Led This Pro Tennis Player to Quit at Age 22. Five Years Later, She’s Making a Comeback

Fleeing her country, Yusra wasn’t able to take care of herself the way she’d been brought up to in Damascus. Along with her sister, she began training with their father, a swimming coach, at the age of 3. The pool was his kingdom. “He was the king, and we were like the princesses,” Yusra says, but both parents “taught us how to be strong, how to dream, to mind our own business and concentrate on our goals.”

Their father, in particular, used a tough-love approach, treating them “like soldiers,” at times. “I think he was just trying to protect us,” Yusra says. “He was afraid we would go out into the normal community and see how people would treat us, because we were girls, and it’s hard in our community in Syria—it’s hard to be an independent woman.”

In 2011, Yusra was 13 years old when war broke out in Syria. Suddenly, her routine was upended, and her family’s kingdom—the pool—was no longer a safe space. “It was dangerous to train,” she says. “There were bomb attacks at the pool… Some people died at the football grounds, and it was really hard because we had to run out of the pool, go out to the cabins and wait there. The coaches were freaking out, my mom was calling.”

Her family’s home was destroyed in a massacre in 2012, and after years of more violence, in August of 2015, Yusra and her sister finally left with two relatives and a family friend, flying from Damascus to Beirut, Lebanon, and then to Istanbul, where they joined up with a group of smugglers and other refugees to begin their now-infamous escape.

RELATED: Nice Nailantei Leng’ete Escaped Genital Mutilation as a Girl—Now Her Mission Is to End the Ritual

Today, Yusra can hardly believe the story herself. “I don’t know how I got the courage to do all of that,” says the athlete, who’s currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, swimming 20 hours a week and going to the gym. She has her eye on the future, but she can’t help but think of the home she left behind. “It is hard for me because of what’s happening in Syria, and I can’t go back to my country,” she says.

For now, Yusra is enjoying Berlin. “People are very nice. I like the culture here. People are helping me with the language, and my schedule is full.”

Does she have a favorite word in German? “Glücklich,” she says. “It means happy.”

We want to hear about more #RealLifeStrong women. Nominate yourself—or a friend or family member—here. We’ll be sharing the most inspiring stories we receive in the months ahead.

Ballerina Ingrid Silva on Unraveling Stereotypes: ‘I Can Still Look Classical and Elegant With My Natural Hair’  

This interview is part of Health’s #RealLifeStrong series, where we are celebrating women who represent strength, resilience, and grace.

Ingrid Silva is turning the stereotype of a ballerina body on its head. Here, the 29-year-old—who’s currently in her sixth season at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City—opens up about being the only black girl in her ballet class, forging her own career path, and why representation matters.

Did you always know you’d become a ballerina?

Growing up in Brazil, I wanted to be a swimmer so badly. I started ballet relatively late, when I was 8 years old, and I never saw myself dancing [long-term]. When I was 11, I went to one of the biggest dance schools in Brazil, and I met a teacher who sparked more of a love of dance in me. The challenges—and how every day I accomplished something different—were magnetizing for me. Ballet was taking up so much of my life, I decided to just invest in it.

At 17, you left Rio de Janeiro to study at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. What inspired you to go to New York?

I knew it was a great opportunity, but my mom was with me every step of the way, guiding me through it. I didn’t want to go. When you’re young and you get these opportunities, it’s hard to think as far ahead as the people around you. I did see a future for myself in dance. But I didn’t imagine it would get to where it is now. I would never dream of that.

What was it like to move so far from home?

When I first got here, I learned English, I learned the culture. I had to fight even more for the things that I wanted, especially being an international dancer. Just finding my space in myself and in the company, and growing as a woman and as a person, it was such a challenge. I could barely communicate, so I was lonely. I was sad. I wanted to go back for the first few days. But I always had my family’s support.

You’ve carved your own path in an industry known for its extremely strict standards—how did you do it?

People see ballerinas as a typical white, skinny, tall girl. It’s so much more than that. When I arrived at Dance Theatre of Harlem I felt very welcome. I felt like I found people who looked like me. I felt like I was where I belonged. In Brazil, there wasn’t much diversity. I was the only black ballerina in my class! And when I came to America, in this company, I was just one more.

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Did that make you feel empowered to be yourself?

There are certain standards to dance that you have to follow—ballet is very specific, and you have to look formal, and you have to look a certain way. I think for me, it was more finding a way to look classical and elegant as a ballet dancer, but also look like me. I can still look classical and elegant with my natural hair. I can be classical and elegant with my own body. That was empowering.

Do you feel a responsibility to help other young dancers reach the same conclusion?

I mentor through an organization called Brown Girls Do Ballet. In my generation, I didn’t have anyone I could relate to and look up to. These girls can see me dance, or online, or in a magazine, and they see that it’s possible. And that’s where I think that representation matters. It’s not even about your body type, or your skin color. It’s about finding someone who inspires you. That’s my goal—to connect with people and help change their lives, even if it’s just through a conversation.

How do you deal with career hurdles these days?

I feel like the ballet career is going to be hard forever. You always want to be a better “you” every day. And you want to be perfect, which doesn’t exist. But one thing is important: to be consistent. And right now, I’m trying to be consistent more and more. That’s different than being perfect, because we’ll never be perfect.

What is your advice to for handling setbacks, and moments of self-doubt?

I remember that just because something doesn’t work one day, doesn’t mean it won’t work the next. And yes, you’re going to get frustrated, but personally, I started learning how to deal with my emotions. When I was young, when things wouldn’t go right in ballet, I would go home and cry. My dad once asked, “Why do you always get so upset? If it makes you so sad, why don’t you quit?” And the answer was that I could never see myself doing anything else. Growing up now, even when I get frustrated, I understand: Hey, it didn’t work today. You can do better tomorrow.

We want to hear about more #RealLifeStrong women. Nominate yourself—or a friend or family member—here. We’ll be sharing the most inspiring stories we receive in the months ahead.

20 Ways to Do a Plank

BROOKPIFER.COMThe plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core because it builds isometric strength to help sculpt your waistline and improve your posture. And depending on the type of plank you try, you can also engage your back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. Win!


Whether you can hold a plank for 20 seconds or two minutes, you’ll love these fresh variations on the standard move. Bonus: 16 of them don’t require a single piece of equipment.


Watch the video: 5 Plank Variations You Need to Try  

10 Fun Ways to Get Fit Without a Gym

Bootcamp-style workouts are a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love a challenge? You can create your own by doing strength and cardio exercises at home or outside at a park—all you need is a good pair of sneakers!


Try this circuit: jumping jacks, lunges, high knees, push-ups, triceps dips (off a bench or curb), and sit-ups. Do each exercise for 60 to 90 seconds; rest in between exercises as needed. Repeat the whole thing two or three times.

7 Essentials for Healthy Hiking

Slather on Bull Frog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen with Insect Repellent, SPF 30 ($9; target.com) pre-hike. It works double-time, fending off insects with a DEET-free formula while protecting your skin from the sun.

15 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

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You know that moment when you just need to stretch—maybe it’s before getting out of bed in the morning, during a long flight or right after a long run. Think about how your go-to muscle-loosening move makes you feel. Does it make you say “ooh” and “ahh”? Well, that’s exactly what stretching can do for you: Wake up your muscles, relieve tension throughout the body and make you feel oh-so-good.

RELATED: 5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now

But the benefits of stretching go even further. “There are many factors that can limit or enhance movement, including prior tissue damage, strength, stability around the joint and, of course, flexibility,” says Lisa Wheeler, vice president of fitness programming for Daily Burn. “That’s where stretching comes in. If the muscles around the joint aren’t flexible, it’s difficult to move efficiently.” In other words, that stiffness can prevent you from doing full range of motion exercises, cause injury and worse, keep you from progressing with your fitness goals.

To help you loosen up the joints used in most daily movements—especially those that get tight from sitting all day—we rounded up 15 lengthening and strengthening stretches to do daily. Wheeler says it’s best to do a dynamic warm-up before a workout and static holds after exercise. Thankfully, you can use most of these stretches for both by either staying in the position shown for 30 seconds (static) or moving in and out of the pose (dynamic). Focus on deep breathing and you’ll probably experience some mental stress relief, too.

RELATED: The 5 Keys to a Perfect Warm-Up

15 Stretches to Relieve Tension Now   

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1. Downward Dog
A yogi favorite, this pose focuses on hip and shoulder mobility, while stretching your hamstrings, lats (muscles in your mid-back) and deltoids (muscles in your shoulders).
How to: Start in plank position with shoulders directly over wrists (a). Push your hips up toward the ceiling so you form a triangle with your body. Keep your head between your arms and straighten your legs as much as possible (b). Reach your heels toward the ground and spread your fingers, so your bodyweight gets distributed evenly through the hands and feet.
Make it dynamic: Continuously move between plank position and downward dog.

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2. Side Oblique Stretch
You’ll lengthen through the side of your body as you stretch your lats, hips and obliques.
How to: Stand with feet a little wider than hip-distance apart (a). As you lift one arm overhead with your palm facing inward, reach and lean toward the opposite side of the arm raised (b). Hold for eight seconds, then switch sides.
Make it dynamic: After you reach with one arm, bend that elbow as you pull it down by your side and stand straight. Reach back up and over. Do eight reps, then switch sides.

RELATED5 Hip Stretches to Relieve Tightness Now

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3. Crescent Pose
Find length and balance as you engage your abs, hip flexors and chest with this high lunge.
How to: Stand with your feet staggered: one in front and one behind you (a). Bend your front knee to create a 90-degree angle. Keep your back leg straight behind you (b). Lift your arms up in the air by your ears, palms facing inward. Lift your chest up, slightly arching your back as you press your back hip forward (c). If possible, lower your lunge as you exhale. Hold for eight seconds, then switch sides.
Make it dynamic: Bend and straighten your front leg as you lift and lower your arms. Repeat for eight reps, then switch sides.

RELATED: 8 Things Experts Wish You Knew About Yoga

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4. Child’s Pose
Take it from Daily Burn’s Becca Pace: This stretch is probably one of the most calming postures, and works well for recovery, too. You’ll stretch the low back, lats and shoulders.
How to: Get on all fours on an exercise mat (a). From your hands and knees, push your hips back until your butt rests on your heels. (Knees slightly wider than hips.) Keep your arms straight out in front of you and look at the floor.
Make it dynamic: Continuously flow through hands-and-knees position to child’s pose.

RELATEDThe 6 Most Satisfying Stretches You’re Not Doing

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5. Single Leg Stretch
If you’re like most adults, you need a little more flexibility in your hamstrings. Bonus benefit: You’ll also work your core.
How to: Lie on your back and lift legs toward the ceiling (a). Lower one leg toward the floor as you pull the other leg toward your face (b). Hold the back of your raised leg (calf or higher) and lift your shoulders off the mat (c). Keep legs as straight as possible and toes pointed. Hold, then switch sides.
Make it dynamic: Switch legs repeatedly, gently grabbing your calf and pulling it toward you.

RELATED: Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First?

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6. Figure 4
This is an ah-mazing stretch for runners, as it alleviates tightness in the glutes and the hard-to-reach piriformis (another muscle in your backside).
How to: Sit on a mat with your legs extended in front of you (a). Place your hands behind you, fingertips facing away from your body. Lift one leg, placing your ankle on your opposite leg, just above the knee. (Keep your feet flexed to protect your knees.) (b). Slowly bend your bottom leg toward you, until you feel a stretch in the outer hip of the other leg (c). Straighten your back, roll your shoulders down and push out your chest. Hold, then switch sides.
Make it dynamic: Continue to bend and straighten your bottom leg.

RELATED: 5 Stretches You Could Be Doing More Effectively

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7. Cat
Have a stiff back? This pose will encourage blood flow and more mobility in your spine.
How to: Get on your hands and knees on an exercise mat, with wrists in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips (a). Round your back, tuck your pelvis and look toward the floor, as you scoop your abs upward (b).
Make it dynamic: Inhale and exhale as you flow through cat and cow (below).

Read the rest of the article here.

 

This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com. 

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