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Try This: Stretching Exercises

girl stretching in a field  

Ever had to take a long car or plane ride? Or felt like you sat still all day?

Sometimes you just can't get up and move when you want to. Here's a great answer for those stiff and antsy times -- you can move while you sit!

Stretching makes your body feel good. It makes you more flexible, and it can also give you quick energy. It helps blood flow through your body better. And it's your blood that carries the oxygen your body needs to all of its parts. Plus, stretching helps get rid of stress.

Here are some exercises to try the next time you're sitting down in the car or bus, stuck at your desk, or just watching TV.

But before you do any of them, take a minute to be safe. Choose a sturdy chair, one that doesn't have wheels. Make sure you can put your feet flat on the floor to steady yourself if you need to.

Reach for the Sky

This move helps relax your shoulders and upper back.

  1. Sit toward the back of the chair so it doesn't tip.
  2. Rest your left hand in your lap and stretch your right hand (fingers spread open) toward the sky.
  3. Now bend to your left side and let your right hand stretch over your head, reaching and stretching to your left side.
  4. Count to 10 while slowly breathing in and out.
  5. Do the same stretch with your right hand in your lap.

Get a Leg Up

This exercise helps keep the muscles in your upper leg flexible. The muscles in the front are called the quadriceps. Your hamstrings are the muscles that run along the back of your thigh. These stretches can help keep both sides of your leg loose. You can do the first part of this stretch without anyone even realizing you’re doing it.

  1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your knee bent, and pick up your right foot off the floor (like you're taking a step). Hold.
  3. Count to 10, and then put your foot back down.
  4. Do the same thing with your left foot.
  5. Repeat several times, switching feet.
  6. Next, stretch both legs out straight in front of you, but keep the back of your heels touching the floor.
  7. Bend forward at your waist, and slowly reach for your toes to stretch the hamstrings at the back of your legs. Hold.
  8. Count to 10 while slowly breathing in and out.
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