Move Yourself to Better Health


Physical Activity - Stretching

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woman stretching before activity

Benefits | Walking Guide | Staying Motivated | Safety | Stretching | Transportation


Stretching

It’s important to take care of your muscles with a warm-up and cool-down to prevent stiffness and improve flexibility. You can warm up and cool down from activities with 5 minutes of medium-paced walking, followed by some stretches.

Try These Five Stretches

Calf muscles stretch: Stand facing a wall. Position your forward foot approximately 30 cm from the wall. Stretch your arms forward, elbows straight and lean against the wall. Place your other foot slightly behind and to the side of the front foot and slowly plant it flat on the floor. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your back leg. Hold for 15 - 30 seconds. Relax and repeat two times with alternate legs.

woman leaning against wall

Hamstring muscles stretch: Sitting on the floor, put one leg straight out and the other leg bent at the knee. Keeping your back straight, lean forward, sliding your hands down the straight leg until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15 - 30 seconds. Relax and repeat two more times with alternate legs.

Woman with one leg bent intowards the other while other leg is straight. She is leaning towards the ankle of the straight leg.

Thigh stretch – sitting: Sit on the edge of a chair. Lower your knee toward the floor and press it back under the chair. Hold the stretch for 15 - 20 seconds. Repeat each leg two times.

woman on edge of chair with arms behind her resting on seat

Alternate thigh muscles stretch: Stand close to a wall and place one hand on it. With the other hand reach back and hold the same side foot in that hand. When balanced, begin to slowly raise the foot up towards the lower back. Hold for 15 - 30 seconds. Relax and repeat two more times with alternate legs.

man leaning against wall holding ankle up to top of thigh

Achilles stretch: Sitting on a chair, plant one heel on the floor and gently lift your toes up and back as far as you can. Hold for a count of five and then relax. Repeat each foot several times.

man sitting on chair lifting toes with his heel on the floor

(Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2014).