10 Warm Up Stretches
Traditional Chinese Style

Stretching and warm up exercises are many and varied. Here are 10 warm up stretches - traditional Chinese style - for your back, neck, hips, waist and legs. Do them to warm up and stretch for sports, exercise routines, work - practically any activity or situation where you want to boost your blood circulation, warm and limber your muscles and joints and prepare your body and mind for the activity, task or day ahead. Some of these photo illustrated stretching exercises are ancient stretch techniques that Chinese people have done for centuries to improve and maintain health. Included is a guide to basic stretching and a summary of daily stretching benefits. While Chinese stretching exercises are suitable for most people - young and old, active and sedentary - check with your health or fitness professional beforehand, especially if you're in poor health or haven't exercised for some time.

Guide to Basic Stretching

1. Don't stretch cold, tight muscles: Warm up your body first with 5 or 10 minutes of light physical activity such as walking, slow jogging, bike riding and/or the general warm up exercises listed below.

2. Do static stretches: Once warmed up, proceed with 10 or 15 minutes of gentle, static stretches like those listed below. These gradually stretch your major muscle groups and tendons.

3. Do sports/activity specific exercises: Next, do 10 or 15 minutes of exercises or drills related to your particular sport or activity. These prepare your body and mind for the specific task(s) ahead.

10 Warm Up Stretches

Divided into warm up and stretching exercises as per the above guide to stretching.

Warm Up Exercises

Breathing Exercise 1 - Sitting: Clears your lungs & airways of stale air; floods your system with fresh oxygen.
Back Twist: An ancient stretch technique & excellent, general warm up exercise.
Abdominal Lift: Enhances blood circulation; massages your abdominal organs.

Stretching Exercises

Neck Twist: Limbers & loosens your neck & upper back.
Upper Back Stretch: Loosens your upper back, neck & shoulders.
Back Arch: Loosens & limbers your spine, lower back & pelvic area.
Forward Lunge: Stretches the front of your thighs.
Thigh Burner: Stretches your inner thighs.
Leg Stretch: Stretches the backs of your legs.
Forward Backward Bend: Stretches your abdominal area, spine & legs.

While these 10 warm up stretches are ideal for sports, exercise routines and physical activities, you can also do them before breakfast to give you a great start to the day, or in the afternoon to recharge and vitalize your body and mind. Regular stretching and limbering of major body areas such as your back, neck and legs offers the following worthwhile benefits:

Daily Stretching Benefits

  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Stimulates vital energy channels in your body
  • Relieves & prevents muscle & joint pain
  • Prevents injury
  • Improves posture & balance
  • Relaxes you

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