Flexibility is a key component to fitness, feeling youthful, and staying active throughout your life. The perfect time to stretch is anytime you have a minute or two during the day. I prefer to stretch when I first wake up and then before going to bed. When I do this, I feel less achy and stiff throughout the day even when I am increasing my mileage for the week. My client, Beth, prefers stretching after long bouts of sitting at work and before she heads out for her run. Consistency is the goal!
Here are 4 Key Stretches that I do every day for injury prevention and flexibility. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and then switch. You should feel a slight pull in the muscle, but no pain.
- Stand about 3 feet from a chair and place the heel of one leg on the seat.
- Keep your supporting foot pointed directly ahead, your back straight, and your hips forward.
- Lean forward slightly until you feel your hamstring start to stretch
- If you place your foot on the ground with the toe slightly inward, you will feel more of a pull
- stand facing a wall about 3 feet away
- Step forward with one foot and place your hands on the wall
- bend your forward leg and keep your back leg straight
- make sure the heel of your back leg remains on the floor
- You should feel a slight pull in your calf
- Stand next to a chair or wall for support
- Grab the ankle of one leg and pull heel toward your buttocks while keeping your knees almost touching
- Keep your back straight and your hips forward
Iliotibial Band Stretch (IT Band)
- Stand with one side of your body 2 to 3 feet from a wall
- Place your inner hand against the wall
- Cross your outer leg over your inner leg
- Keep your hips forward and lean into the wall with your hip
- You should feel a stretch along the outside of your inner leg
Here’s to a lifetime of flexibility. Let’s do this!