Post exercise stretches
Whether you’re a keen exerciser or just beginning, add stretching to the end of your workout. Always stretch your muscles once they’re warm – either after five to 10 minutes of light activity, or following exercise. Remember to breathe deeply while you stretch, and keep still during each hold. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort only.
What you need
A yoga mat or soft floor covering to lie on.
Start with a 12-15 second stretch. Over time, increase to 15-30 seconds.
1. Quad stretch
Stretches: Front of thighs
How-to: Stand tall, with your back straight, and hold a chair or wall for balance if you need to. Keep your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Slowly lift your left leg up and reach your left arm back to grab your ankle. Keep your thighs lined up next to each other and your knees and hips level. Breathe deeply and hold, then repeat on the right side.
2. Calf stretch
Stretches: Back of lower legs
How-to: Stand with your right leg in front of your left. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your heels on the ground. Lower your body to further bend your knees until you feel a stretch in your left leg. Hold, then repeat for the right leg.
3. Hamstring stretch
Stretches: Back of thighs and calves
How-to: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keeping your back, head and shoulders in contact with the floor, raise your left leg, keeping your knee slightly bent. Hold your thigh and, if you can, flex your foot by pointing your toes down towards your head. When you feel a comfortable tension down the back of your left thigh, hold. Repeat on right side.
4. Lower back stretch
Stretches: Lower back and bottom
How-to: Lie on your back and, keeping your knees together, bring them to your chest. Keeping your head, back and shoulders in contact with the floor, hug your shins or the back of your thighs and hold.
5. Pec stretch
Stretches: Chest and front of shoulders
How-to: Stand with your back straight, chin tucked in and shoulders back and down. Keep your arms straight as you clasp your hands behind your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Raise your arms until you feel a stretch across your chest and hold.