Stretching should be an important part of any exercise you do. Even if you’re not making yourself workout daily, taking a few minutes each morning to gently stretch will loosen the muscles that become stiff as we age. Doing this can help reduce pain and inflammation in your body, which is particularly helpful if you suffer from osteoarthritis.
If you keep them up regularly, you should find that your everyday activities – such as cooking, tying your shoes, and hanging out the washing – become easier.
This stretch will help work your two calf muscles: the soleus and the gastrocnemius. Find a stable piece of furniture at a comfortable height and place your hands on it to keep your balance. Extend your left foot backwards, bending your right knee slightly if you wish. Try to get your left heel onto the ground and leave it there if you have the flexibility. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with your right leg, and then perform an additional repetition for each side.
If you have tightness in your knees, lower back or quadriceps, this stretch will help. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Bend your left leg towards your body and pull your leg in towards your chest. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds, pulling as far as you are able, but not to the point of strain. Repeat five times on each leg.
If you suffer from back pain, loosening the back and stomach muscles is a great remedy. Sit in a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing to either side. Slowly begin to bend at the waist, bringing your left elbow down toward your left side and feel the stretch in your right side. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
NOTE: Bend like an accordion, don’t fold over like a piece of paper.
Stretch out your shoulder muscles with this easy exercise. Sit in a chair, keeping your feel flat on the floor, and making sure your back is straight. Begin with your arms at your sides, and slowly lift them out in front of you, and then continue all the way up towards your head. Hold your arms in the top-most position you can reach for five seconds, then lower your arms slowly to your sides. Repeat 10 times.
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