Stretching


Stretching helps prevent injury and should be incorporated into your day even if you don't exercise.

Stretching is an important part of any workout. Not only does stretching help counter the soreness that typically follows a workout, it also lengthens the muscles, improving range of motion and flexibility. Stretching also helps prevent injury during exercise. But even if you don't engage in more intense forms of physical activity, stretching should be incorporated into your daily routine. It improves circulation, decreases stress, and releases tension.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring stretch lengthens and stretches the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh.

Step 1

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, knees relaxed, toes pointing forward or in a comfortable position, upper body lifted, body weight distributed in the hips over the heels, shoulders relaxed. Extend right leg in front of the body and flex the foot, keeping the knee relaxed.

Step 2

Bend your left knee, keeping weight in hips over your heels. Place hands on left thigh and bend through your hips, not at the waistline. Hold abdominal muscles in tight and keep head and neck in line with the spine. Keep spine straight. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Calf Stretch

The purpose of the calf stretch is to lengthen the muscle at the back of the calf called the gastrocnemius muscle. To stretch this muscle effectively, keep both feet in a parallel position.

Step 1

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, knees relaxed, toes pointing forward or in a comfortable position, upper body lifted, body weight distributed in the hips over the heels, shoulders relaxed.

Step 2

Place both hands on right thigh and step forward with right leg, bending the knee in line with the heel. Press the left heel down into the floor. Keep feet parallel and pointing forward. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Hip Flexor/Quadriceps Stretch

The purpose of the hip flexor/quadriceps stretch is to stretch the front of the hip and thigh. If you sit all day long, this area can become tight, which can lead to lower back problems.

Step 1

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, knees relaxed, toes pointing forward or in a comfortable position, upper body lifted, body weight distributed in the hips over the heels, shoulders relaxed. Step forward with right leg.

 

Step 2

Bend both knees in line with hip bones. Tilt the pelvic girdle upward. Hold the abdominal muscles in tight. Remain lifted through the spine. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat with other leg.

 

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Lower Back Stretch

This exercise is designed to improve flexibility and encourage relaxation.

Step 1

Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Breathe and relax.

Step 2

Slowly pull your legs into your chest, bending your knees. Hold your hands against the backs of your thighs. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Spiral Release

The spiral release will stretch the lower back, waistline, chest, shoulder, and neck. Move slowly through the stretch. Let your body relax into the stretch and melt into the floor.

Step 1

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, arms out from your body, palms on the floor.

Step 2

Slowly move your legs to one side, allowing your hips to lift up to the ceiling as far as is comfortable for you. Look in the opposite direction. Breathe and relax. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat, moving your legs to the opposite side.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Lower Back/Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh is connected to the lower back and knee joint. To safely execute a stretch through the length of the muscle, first stretch through hamstring and lower back and then slowly extend through knee joint.

Step 1

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor.

Step 2

Pull right leg toward your chest and breathe. Keep your tailbone down.

Step 3

Slowly extend leg through the knee to a point of slight tension. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat with left leg.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

The seated hamstring stretch helps stretch the back of the thigh and must be performed with proper posture. Concentrate on keeping the spine extended.

Step 1

Sit tall, lifting body through the spine. Relax shoulders. Bend right knee and extend left leg comfortably.

Step 2

Extend forward slowly. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat with left knee bent.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Seated Head and Neck Stretch

Give yourself an opportunity to lengthen the neck area, which can hold a lot of tension. Relax and breathe deeply while stretching. This stretch can be done at any time as a tension reliever.

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed. Look to the right and the left slowly.

Step 2

Wrap right arm around head and place left hand on chin. Press head to right shoulder. Breathe and relax. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat with left arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Back and Triceps Stretch

The back and triceps stretch helps to stretch the upper back and the back of the upper arm. It keeps that area open and flexible.

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed.

 

Step 2

Lift and cross left arm behind the back and touch the palm to the back. Use right arm to increase the stretch by pressing against the fleshy part of left arm. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat with right arm.

 

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Chest Stretch

Sitting at a desk all day or driving a lot promotes a tendency to become rounded through the shoulders. The chest stretch helps to open the chest and stretch the muscles in that area.

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed. Place hands behind the head, elbows pointing forward.

Step 2

Move the elbows to the side and press them back to stretch and open through the chest. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat once.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Shoulder Stretch

The shoulder stretch stretches the shoulders and helps to relieve tension buildup through the neck.

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed. Extend arms out from the side.

Step 2

Cross right arm over the chest, using left arm to aid in the stretch by pressing against the front of right arm. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat with left arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Side Stretch

Lengthen and lift the body through the waistline and back by doing this stretch. Use proper posture and smooth technique. Breathe and relax.

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed.

Step 2

Raise left arm overhead, lifting the body and lengthening through the spine. Place right hand on the floor to support the back.

Step 3

Deepen the stretch by bending right elbow, but continue to lengthen the body through the waistline, Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat, raising right arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Torso Reach

The purpose of the torso reach is to strengthen and slim the waistline. Avoid collapsing to the side when doing this exercise. Concentrate on lengthening through the waistline as you reach.

Step 1

Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed, toes pointing forward or in a comfortable position, upper body lifted, shoulders relaxed.

Step 2

Place right hand on the side of the body against the thigh to support the spine. Reach with the left arm up and over the head, lengthening torso through the waistline. Remember to reach through full range of motion and don't bounce. Return to starting position and repeat for 8 times. Repeat with right arm.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Reenergizer

Take a deep breath and allow your body to reenergize. Feel the energy!

Step 1

Sit tall, with body lifted through the spine and ankles crossed. Extend arms out to the side of the body. Expand through your back. Allow your energy to release through your fingertips.

Step 2

Lift arms up to the ceiling, relaxing the shoulders. Glance up to the ceiling by elongating the neck, but avoid hyperextending. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Allow the energy to release through the fingertips.

Step 3

Relax the arms, bringing them down, and roll the shoulders back 3 times. Take a deep breath.

For more great exercises to improve your strength and fitness, check these out:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Faremouth is a fitness specialist who is a certified exercise instructor and member of the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobic Fitness Association of America. She was awarded a silver medal in the Reebok National Aerobic 1989 Championships for the Midwest region and has served as director of exercise programs for a large health club in Chicago. Through her company, Fitfully Yours, she provides education, consultation, training, and workshops to fitness centers, corporations, and individuals worldwide.