You Can Get Fit!

Stretch It Out!

Posted on: August 24, 2010

(Speaking of stretching… unrelated to this post, but keep me accountable, you guys. I need to get to my piano more often, to reach my goal of playing solo in public again! This is one of my personal stretches, and there… you all have permission to nag me! Now, on to the topic of the day…)

If you’re like the standard American (or even other parts of the world), you probably have trouble bending forward to touch your toes. Your body feels like a tight coil. Ugh.

So, here’s a quick and easy remedy for some of your tension! (Unfortunately I can’t get rid of the nagging boss/spouse/kid/whomever…) Just a few stretches per day will relax your muscles, allow your joints (and therefore your body) to move more freely, and you may find that you sleep more easily! Try these out once or maybe twice a day, every day if you have the chance. Do be sure to adequately hydrate yourself throughout the day, and if something hurts (more than just a gentle stretching feeling), please stop the stretch! (And, ask your medical practitioner if the pain lingers for too long.)

1. Calf and Achilles tendon stretch. Stand on a step with both feet. Allow your right heel to hang off the back edge of the step, lengthening your right calf. Keep your right knee straight but let your left knee soften. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Change sides. This is great for those of us who sit and drive a lot.

2. Hip stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Lift up your right foot and place your right ankle on your left knee. You may already feel a stretch in the outside of your right hip and in the back of your right leg (hamstring). To intensify the stretch, reach behind your left thigh and draw your legs toward your body (your left foot will come off of the floor). Hold your position for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the other side. This is great for anyone, especially if you do a lot of uphill cycling and walking.

3. Low back release. Still lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest, picking your feet off of the floor. Allow your low back to press gently into the floor. Wrap your forearms around your shins as if hugging your legs. Rock gently from side to side, if it feels OK.

4. Neck stretch. Sit upright, with your legs crossed. Feel your shoulders relaxing away from your ears. Tilt your head to the right side, your right ear traveling toward your right shoulder, as you still look forward. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

Best yet? You can do these stretches anywhere you have floor space (like your office!) and not even break a sweat. And you’ll feel great!

I’d love to hear your success stories!

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