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Try This: Stretching Exercises

Tween stretching armsEver had to take a long car or plane ride? Or felt like you sit 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 exercises make your body feel good. Stretching helps you feel more flexible. Stretching can also give you quick energy. Here's how: stretching 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 stretching exercises to try. Try one of these exercises next time you're sitting down in the car or bus, stuck at your desk, or just watching TV.

Before you do any of these exercises, 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 stretching exercise 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. 

Want to change things up? Act like you're a marionette puppet with strings attached to your fingers. Pretend someone is pulling your strings, stretching both hands to the sky. Pretend they pull a bit harder, stretching your arms higher. Hold for a count of 10 at the top. Then pretend the strings get cut -- let both hands flop to your sides.

Get a Leg Up

This stretching 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 leg. 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 are getting some exercise.

  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.

 

WebMD Medical Reference