6 Stretches You Can Do in the Shower
You've been hearing it since elementary school PE class: stretching is important for flexibility, mobility, and injury prevention. Whether starting a workout or wrapping up a long day of sitting, stretching is a healthy habit that pays off. There's just one problem. Who has the time to add one more thing to their wellness to-do list?
Enter shower stretching.
A soap and water-slicked surface might not immediately come to mind as the ideal place to test your mobility. But trust us. The hot water and steam of your shower can loosen your muscles and allow your body to move freely. (If you've ever tried a hot yoga class, you probably already experienced the benefits of heat on flexibility).
Another benefit of stretching in the shower? It might make it easier to stick to your new wellness routine since you probably already shower most days. Pairing a new habit with an existing one is called habit stacking—and there's plenty of research showing that it's an effective way to stick to your goals.
Ready for a flexible way to, ahem, get flexible? Here are six simple shower stretches to try and get your body moving.
Before You Begin...
When trying new exercises, safety comes first. Your shower may be slippery, so be mindful of where you stand or how you support your weight. A shower mat may provide an extra layer of stability. When in doubt, steer clear of positions requiring a lot of balance and save them for dry ground.
1. Reach for the Sky
Before stretching, let the warm water and steam from your shower head relax the muscles throughout your body. When you're ready, take a full body stretch by standing up straight and reaching above your head with both hands, extending along your entire spine. Hold this position for five breaths, then relax and repeat two more times.
As a variation, try lengthening one side of your body and then the other, feeling a stretch through your ribs and arms. Let yourself move organically, breathing with each movement until you're ready to move to the next stretch.
You can add infusions directly to your shower's water stream. Simply place your Infusion in the hai Fuse attachment on your hai smart shower system at any point during your shower to enjoy the benefits of water packed with healing, active ingredients.
2. Gentle Neck Rolls
Stand with your back to your shower head and your feet planted firmly on the ground. As you exhale, gently drop your right ear towards your right shoulder, keeping both shoulders relaxed. You should feel a relaxing spray on the left side of your neck, melting away tension.
Take two big breaths in this position, then tuck your chin and roll your head all the way across your chest until your left ear is by your left shoulder. Once again, allow your shower's water stream to relax the muscles on the side of your neck.
3. Wall Chest Opener
This stretch is ideal for loosening tight chest muscles, which can shorten and tighten from long days spent hunched over our computers or steering wheels. To try it, make a cactus shape with your right arm, raising your elbow to shoulder height. Then place your right hand and forearm against one of the walls of your shower. Now twist your body away from your arm until you feel a stretch through the right side of your chest.
Try deepening your stretch slightly on every exhale and lengthening the crown of your head towards the ceiling on every inhale. Continue for 10 breaths, then switch to your left side.
4. Wrist and Hand Stretch
We use our hands and wrists for so many activities throughout the day, from typing to holding heavy grocery bags. Give your digits a break with this simple wrist and hand stretch.
Extend your right hand in front of you with your palm facing toward the ceiling. With your left hand, gently pull back on the fingers of your right hand until you feel a stretch through your wrist and forearm. After 10 breaths, switch sides and repeat.
5. Standing Cat-Cow
This variation on a classic yoga pose will release tension throughout your chest, belly, shoulders, and spine. Start your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees slightly, and place your palms into the tops of your thighs. As you inhale, press your hands down, arch your back, and draw your chest towards the ceiling. You should feel a stretch across your collarbones and through your abdomen.
On your exhale, round your spine, drawing your chin towards your chest and your belly button towards your back. Let the warm water run along the back of your body to loosen your back and neck muscles even more. Repeat three more times from the beginning.
6. Forward Fold or Seated Forward Fold
If you have tight hamstrings like most people, warm water from your shower can make it easier to sink into this classic stretch. If you're on solid footing, you can try it from a standing position, keeping your knees slightly bent for extra stability. Otherwise, sit on your shower floor and extend both legs in front of you with your feet flexed.
As you inhale deeply, raise both arms above your head and lengthen through your entire spine. Exhale, and bend forward from your hips. If you can reach it, let your fingertips rest on the floor in front of you. Otherwise, just relax your chest towards your thighs. Breathe deeply for five breaths before gently returning to a standing or seated position with an elongated spine.
If you're ready to add gentle stretching into your daily routine, this addition to your regular shower ritual is a great place to start.