Stretching can be the most important part of your exercise routine! It warms up your muscles and helps prevent injuries. We’ve put together a few of our favorite stretches as an easy guide. Do them alone or add them to your current workout routine.

Sun’s in Eyes (Stretches abs and chest)

  • On your knees, take your interwoven hands and place them knuckle-side back on your forehead. Lift your right elbow as high as you can, away from your right knee. Press your right hip slightly forward. Hold ten seconds, taking deep breaths to release tight muscles. Advanced: Try to look up at the ceiling.

Going to Jail (Stretches arms and chest)

  • Interweave your hands behind your tailbone, with your knuckles away from you. Then lift your arms straight up, as high as you can (comfortably). Keep your chest lifted. Expand your rib cage with deep breaths. Hold for 20 seconds.

QUIZ: How Physically Active Are You?

Weeping Willow Stretch (Stretches hamstrings, calves and back)

  • Place your feet into a “ballet squat”—second position in ballet, with feet pointed to the side. Relax your upper body, letting your head dangle down. Release all your neck tension. It’s more important to keep your legs straight, than to bend your knee to touch your toes. Do for 20 seconds and then switch sides.

Airplane Stretch (Stretches hips and hamstring muscles)

  • While sitting, cross your right leg on top of your left knee. Place your right elbow on top of your right knee, and put your hand on your right ankle. Lean forward and press your lower back toward your right calf, while keeping your back straight. Look straight ahead. Advanced: Take your left hand and pull your right foot toward the ceiling.

RESEARCH: Mindfulness Can Make You Fitter