Thursday, September 18, 2014
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How to stretch properly anytime, anyplace

Stretching may not be the most exciting part of your routine, but it's as essential as any other element of your workout.

How to stretch properly anytime, anyplace

Stretching is boring. Who wants to spend 15 minutes after they are done working out sitting and stretching out their muscles?

Most of us are squeezing every minute we can into our workouts before we are off to work, get the kids, run errands, etc. Quitting working out 15 minutes early to stretch just is not something that is going to happen. We want to burn every last calorie, lift every last pound.

Unfortunately, stretching is a necessary evil for everyone, whether they workout or not. Sitting or standing in an incorrect posture for too long or lifting and carrying objects at work or kids affects the way our muscles adapt and react.

However, sitting down for 15 minutes for a formal stretching program, while ideal is not practical for many people or something that many people will not do. So it is important to come up with a stretching program that you can incorporate into your everyday routine. You can combine these stretches while doing other activities during the day so you do not have to stop what you are doing to do them. The stretches in the video do not have to be done all at once.

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Stretching throughout the day helps to keep muscles nourished and in proper length—all while going about your daily routine. While these stretches do not have to be done all at once when you do perform one you should try to hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 6 repetitions. You also want to make sure that you stretch to the point where you feel a gentle stretch—not to the point of pain. If you feel pain you need to discontinue the stretch and contact your healthcare practitioner.

The first stretch in the video is an excellent one for runners, people who sit at a desk, people who have pain in their back or numbness and tingling in their toes. The best part about this stretch is that it is done in sitting so you can do this many times throughout the day. Most of you will notice a difference between legs with how far the knee can go down. This is an indication that there is a problem and this is a stretch you should perform more often.

The second stretch is easy to do in standing. You can do this standing at the kitchen counter, in the shower in the morning or anytime you are able to find time to stand still. The important point to note is that the toes should point straight ahead on both feet. It is also important to note that one leg should be straight and one leg should be bent.

The next stretch only requires a raised surface, like a chair or a step. Keeping your leg straight will help you feel the stretch in the appropriate place. This one you may experience back pain or pain going down the leg. If that is the case you need to contact your health care practitioner.

The next stretch is a great stretch to do while brushing your teeth or standing in the shower. This stretch needs to be done without the shoes on so it makes sense to strategically place it in your day when you will naturally have your shoes off. Make sure your toes are curled under for the maximum stretch.

The final stretch opens up the chest. This is great to do for someone who sits at a desk or finds themselves hunched over a lot. This stretch can also be done in sitting. You should raise your arms up as high as you can in the back in order to get the best stretch.

The best way to tackle these stretches is to find places in your day where you can put them in. For example, when brushing your teeth you can perform the stretch to the front of your foot. Until you get the hang of it, set reminders through the day to stretch.

The more you practice the quicker they will become part of your everyday routine and you will no longer have to consciously insert them in your day. 

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Martin J. Kelley, PT, DPT, OCS Advanced Clinician at Penn Therapy and Fitness, Good Shepherd Penn Partners
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer,
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor,
David Rubenstein, M.D. Team Orthopedist for 76ers; Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
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