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Health & Exercise Forum

Stay Limber and Stay Healthy

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Oct 17, 2011

Dr. Mackarey's Health & Exercise ForumOctober is National Physical Therapy Month! The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) would like the public to recognize the dedication of physical therapists as health care providers. Moreover, physical therapists would like to thank the public for allowing us to participate in your health and wellness.

This column will address a question that is frequently asked by people of all ages and activity levels…stretching. First, it is important to keep in mind that stretching should NEVER be performed without warming up your body and muscles first. This can be done by running slowly in place or around the block for 5-10 minutes. Second, stretching should NEVER be painful. Third, a good stretch should be performed slowly and feel like slight tension in the muscle. NEVER bounce or jerk. First, perform the stretches by actively moving your muscles slowly and deliberately 5-10 times. Then, hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, repeat 5-10 times, 2-4 times per week.

Remember, flexibility is only one aspect of complete health and wellness. Strength training, cardiovascular fitness, meditation and stress management and proper nutrition are also necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Also, be careful not to overstretch before competition as it may weaken the muscle.



Stand with your feet facing a wall shoulder width apart.
Step your right foot back keeping it facing forward.
Bend your left knee and keep the right knee straight
Lean forward and push against a wall for the best stretch, keeping heels on the floor.
Feel the stretch at the back of your right leg below the knee
Repeat on the left


Stand with your left arm holding on to a stable object for balance.
Bend your right knee and bring the heel up toward your butt by pulling up/back with your right hand.
Feel the stretch at the front of your right thigh.
Repeat on the left


Lying on your back, clasp the back of your right knee

Straighten out your right knee slowly up toward the sky
Feel the stretch at the back of your right thigh.
Repeat with your left leg straight.


Sit with your legs bent with heels together. (Indian Sit)
Hold your ankles or feet with both hands.
Keep your back straight and stomach in.
Push your knees toward the floor.
Feel the stretch on the inside of your thighs.


Lie on your back and raise your knees to your chest.
Hold the knees with both your hands.
Feel the stretch at the bottom of your back.


Lie on your belly and prop up on your forearms

Hold this position and inhale and exhale

Feel the stretch in the small of your back


Stand with your left hand on your hip and your right arm above your head.
Bend to the left without leaning forward or back.
Feel the stretch on your right side.
Repeat with your left arm.


Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart

Cross arms over chest and turn to the right with your upper trunk

Keep lower body facing straight

Feel the stretch on the left lower back and trunk

Repeat turning to the left


Take your right arm across your chest.
Use your left hand to pull your right elbow across your chest.
Keep your body facing forward.
Feel the stretch on the back of your right shoulder.
Repeat with your left arm.


Stand facing a corner with feet 12 inches away and put both arms up in a “T” position
Lean into wall with chest and keep feet away from wall
Feel the stretch in your biceps and chest.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor  in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliate faculty member at the University of  Scranton, PT Dept.