12 everyday stretches to stay flexible and fit at any age

When it comes to stretching out your muscles, there are a lot of options to choose from.

To boil it down, we turned to Marilyn Moffat, a professor of physical therapy at New York University and the author of “Age Defying Fitness,” She took us through the best basic stretches that work for practically everyone.

Use these illustrations as your guide and try some of the stretches that will help keep you flexible and fit at any age.

Remember: If you have existing muscle problems or if any of these stretches is uncomfortable, don’t do it. Instead, consult a physical therapist.

First things first: Get seated with good posture. Having good posture will help you do these stretches correctly.

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To start, we'll go through some neck rotations. Be sure to hold each side for 30 to 60 seconds. This applies to all stretches.

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For the neck tilt, be sure to pull your left arm down toward the floor, either holding onto the chair or just pulling down.

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Keeping your posture solid, move through your trunk rotations, again holding 30-60 seconds.

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For this pose, a little bend is all you need. It's just enough to stretch out your spine without going too far.

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The trunk lateral flexion will give the sides of your torso a great stretch.

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Now it's time for a simple spine-stretching fold.

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For the back scratch stretch be sure the top palm is facing toward the body while the bottom palm faces out.

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Staying vertical, go into the classic quad stretch.

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For the heel chord stretch, you should feel your back leg's muscles feeling the stretch, especially along the calf.

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Now, grab a mat and lie down. Your other leg should remain firmly on the ground.

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If you have an elastic strap, use it for this leg extension stretch to get your leg up even higher.

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To finish it out, stretch out the back of your thigh with this pose. If the stretch is too intense, bring the uncrossed leg out farther.

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