Downward Dog is one of the most effective exercises you can add into your routine, rather than just a stretch, when held it's a yoga pose that strengthens and stretches almost every muscle in the body making it one of my favourites to include in mobility programmes.
By stabilizing your upper body in Downward Dog, you engage and strengthen the muscles of the arms, chest, back, and shoulder area whilst stretching and opening up the backs of your legs from the glutes, along the hamstrings, down to the calves and into the feet.
"But I can't straighten my legs..."
There's a common misconception that to be doing Downward Dog "correctly" you need to have your legs straight and your heels on the floor.....
This is absolutely not true!
If you don't yet have the flexibility to straighten your legs then doing downward dog with a bent or soft knee and your heels off the floor is a great modification!
Downward dog is also perfect for a quick little desk break! Regular breaks and stretching throughout the day can really help to alleviate the aches and pains from "desk slouch" even if its just 5 minutes here and there. The important thing find something that fits into your routine and stick with it.
As always, listen to your body and don't do anything that hurts!
Founder of Forest Physical Therapy
This advice is intended for clients who have been prior assessed by Forest Physical Therapy, if in doubt contact your GP before starting any exercise programmes.