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5 Post-SOUL Moves Your Body Needs

enior Instructor SYDNEY MILLER is sharing simple, healthy and habit-forming challenges every month of 2017. This month, she's challenging riders to spend an extra 10 minutes per day stretching out the body. Here, the instructor and Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director JACKIE LONDON outline the five moves your body needs after class.

Our favorite five are geared to maximize your stretching time for a better workout, decreased soreness, reduced risk of injury and, of course, general feel-good vibes. If you have a few extra minutes, start your session by foam-rolling (two to five minutes on each side) before stretching, which can help warm up your muscles and release fascial tension.

Foam-roll IT bands. Roll along the IT band, being careful not to get too close to the knee joint. If you find a spot that feels sticky, stay there for about 20 seconds at least, slowly moving along the area. This gives the muscle time to relax, so that the pressure of the roller can then get into that sticky web.

Pigeon stretch. Pigeon helps to open hips, stretch the muscles in your glutes, and release any tension you may have been holding onto during your ride or a tough day at work.

Prone quad stretch. Lying down on your stomach, bend one knee at a time to the glute. Catch your leg with the hand on the same side, ensuring that the knee is not splaying out, the pelvic floor/core is engaged, and the foot is flexed at all times to protect the knee joint. Your opposite leg should be long along your mat (or the floor) with the top of your foot pressing into the floor. If you feel any sensations in the knee, try the stretch standing. (Yogis: Try holding both feet at the same time!)

Hamstring stretch into supine spinal twist. Lying on your back, lift one leg up and interlace your hands around the hamstring. Lay the opposite leg flat on the mat, and bend and extend the lifted leg at the knee. Then, take the knee across your body, twist the spine to lay flat, and arrange your arms in a T or cactus shape, opening the shoulders and back, turning to face away from the knee.

Breathe. Taking deep, full, slow breaths increases blood flow to tight muscle tissues, helping to remove lactic acid and other toxins that build up in the muscles. You can release the tension in the body by rolling, flexing, and extending, but without the energy (oxygen) for it to work effectively or a conduit (exhale) to remove the byproducts efficiently, you won’t be able to fully reap the benefits.

Catch classes with SYDNEY at 19th Street, Bryant Park and Union Square. Ready to ride? Click HERE to grab a series.

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