Get Started
Get Started

Health & Exercise Forum

Stay Limber and Stay Healthy!

, ,
Oct 26, 2009

Dr. Paul MackareyOctober 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. 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.

10 Most Common Stretches

Calf Stretch

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

Quad Stretch

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

Hamstring Stretch

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.

Groin Stretch

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 towards the floor.
Feel the stretch on the inside of your thighs.

Low Back Flexion Stretch

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

Low Back Extension Stretch

Lie on your belly and prop up on your forearms

Hold up there and inhale and exhale

Feel the stretch in the small of your back

Trunk Side Stretch

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.

Trunk Rotation Stretch

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

Shoulder Stretch

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

Chest Stretch

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.