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5 daily stretches to improve your flexibility

Stretching enhances the body's range of motion and decreases the risk for injuries.
/ Source: TODAY

What better way to loosen up than to incorporate some easy stretches into your daily routine? Stretching every day not only enhances the body’s range of motion, it also decreases the risk of injuries and improves your overall athletic performance.

Check out these quick stretches that can be done any time, anywhere!

1. Overhead side lunge


Start by spreading your feet wide apart, bending one knee and keeping the opposite leg straight. As you lean to the side of the bent knee, reach your arm over top of your head to elongate your obliques. This stretch helps loosen up the hamstrings, hip flexors, hip adductors, obliques and lower back. Repeat this stretch on the opposite leg before moving onto the next stretch.

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2. Shoulder stretch


Cross one arm over your chest, placing your hand or forearm onto your elbow. Taking deep exhales, apply pressure to your elbow, pushing your arm into your chest. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders facing forward. Switch arms before moving onto the next stretch.

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3. Reverse warrior stretch


Stand facing one direction and step your right foot back, almost as if you are preparing for a split. With your left knee bent, and your right hand resting on your right leg, stretch your left arm over the top of your head.

Be sure to stretch your fingers away from each other. If you’re a beginner, or you just want a deeper, more lengthy stretch, step that right foot back further, reach longer and sink more into the stretch with each breath. Perform on the opposite leg before moving onto the next stretch.

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4. Reaching lower calf stretch


To start, stand with your feet less than hip-width apart. Reach both hands toward the ceiling and step one foot out in front of you with your heel on the ground and toe pointed up. Keeping your toe up, bend your opposite knee to bring your finger tips to meet your toe. Once you start to feel your calf muscle loosen up, switch and repeat the motion on the other leg.

5. Standing quad reach and stretch


Begin this stretch by kicking your heel back toward your butt (backside, glutes). Grab your ankle and place your hand out in front of you (or on a stable surface) for balance. Once you feel comfortable in this position, lean down as far as you can, reaching your fingertips toward your toe. This is a great way to stretch out the quads, hamstrings, calves and adductor muscles simultaneously. Not only does it improve your flexibility, this is also a great way to enhance your stability. Perform this stretch a few times on one leg before moving onto the other.

Chrysten Crockett was chosen as one of TODAY's Social Stars. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook and check out her website. For daily health and wellness tips, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.