Flexibility Stretches

Flexibility is about the movement of your body. When your flexibility is good, you feel less stiff and movements such as bending, reaching and turning are easier.

Click on the front or back of the figure to select the part of your body where you would like to improve your flexibility to find simple no-cost, no-equipment stretches to build into your 15 minutes.

Pick the stretches that work best for you. Do the stretch to the best of your ability. You may not be able to bend or lean very far. You may only be able to repeat the stretch a few times. That’s OK. Getting started is what matters and you may be surprised at how quickly you see improvement in your ability.

Click on the front or back of the figure to select the part of your body you would like to improve your flexibility.
NECK

There are several layers of muscles in your neck. These muscles allow you to look both ways when crossing the street, look up at the clouds and look down when tying your shoes. If your neck muscles are too tight then these movements will not be as comfortable. Think how uncomfortable you feel if you are trying to back out of a parking spot and your neck muscles are stiff.

CHEST

The muscles of your chest attach to your breast bone (sternum) and extend over the front of your ribs to the top part of your upper arm. Be careful with these stretches if you have any shoulder problems.

SHOULDERS/UPPER BACK

The shoulder or deltoid muscle is actually three muscles; along the front, side and back of the shoulder. These muscles help to raise your arm upwards to the front (when painting a wall), to the side (when pulling a sweater over your head), and backwards (putting on a jacket). The rotator cuff allows us to do more complicated movements such as throwing a ball. The trapezius muscles or ‘traps’ raise your shoulders up towards your ears.

LOWER BACK

There are many layers of muscles in your lower back which help to move your body in different directions. You use these muscles everyday when bending over to get the newspaper, reaching under the counter or doing yard work. The muscles along either side of your spine start at the back of your skull and go all the way down to the pelvis. The exercises in the ‘Fit-in 15’ program are a good starting point to increase the strength of your lower back.

QUADRICEPS

The quadriceps or ‘quads’ attach to the front of your pelvis and extend down the front of your thigh. These muscles attach just below your knee cap (patella) at the top of the shin bone. The ‘quads’ help to straighten out or extend your knee.

HAMSTRINGS

The hamstrings or 'hams' bend your knee (brings your heel towards the buttock or back of the hip). These muscles attach to the back of your pelvis and go all the way down the back of your upper leg to attach to just below the knee joint.

HINT: When stretching the hamstring muscles, it is important to move from your hips rather than rounding your back.

CALVES

The calf muscles attach just above the back of the knee and extend down the back of your lower leg. The muscle turns into a thick tendon called the Achilles tendon and attaches into the back of your heel. The calf muscle helps us to lift up on our 'tip toes'. Tight calf muscles can contribute to pain along the bottom of your foot. This is referred to as plantar fasciitis.

Neck Roll
Stand and Lean
Doorway Stretch
Shoulder Rolls
Stretch – Reaching Across
Stretch – Reaching Behind
Stretch – Reaching Up
Stretching - Seated
Stretching - Lying down
Standing Stretch
Kneeling Stretch
Seated Stretch
Standing Stretch
Calf Stretch