Wearing high heels and standing for long periods of time can tighten and shorten your calf muscles, which over time can actually cause lower back pain. This stretch helps keep you limber if you're one of the many who wear heels regularly or stand all day. Try to find a moment several times during the day to stretch your calves (if you're wearing heels, take them off first!).
To do this exercise, follow these steps:
1. Face a wall or sturdy surface and stand one foot away with your feet together.
2. Lean forward and place your hands directly on the wall in front of you.
3. Move your left foot back as far as you can while still keeping your heel on the floor.
4. Bend the right knee slightly but keep the left knee straight.
Try to keep your toes pointing directly forward in line with your heel. The more you turn your toes outward, the less effective the stretch for your calf.
5. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, gently press your hips forward, keeping your left heel on the ground (see Figure 7-14a).
6. Hold the stretch for several deep breaths and then slightly bend your left knee without lifting your heel off the floor (see Figure 7-14b).
By bending your knee you stretch an additional muscle in your calf, which is important for ankle flexibility.
7. Repeat this stretch with your right leg.
Relieving calf pain with the standing calf stretch.
Relieving calf pain with the standing
1 Do keep your toes and heel in line. 1 Do keep your heel on the floor.
1 Do breathe deeply and rhythmically throughout the stretch.
1 Don't round your back — keep your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and rear leg in one line.
One of the more common severe injuries of the weekend warrior is a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon. This type of injury can only be treated with surgery and/or prolonged immobilization in a cast. Trust me; neither option is any fun at all. Keeping this area flexible and strong is a good preventive approach to keep the injuries and the doctors away. (Who needs apples? Just stretch!)
To do this stretch, follow these steps:
1. Kneel on one knee with your hips back on your heel and your other foot flat on the floor next to your knee (see Figure 7-15a).
2. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and inhale; as you exhale shift your body weight forward, keeping your heel on the floor as you lean forward (see Figure 7-15b).
You should feel the stretch in your Achilles tendon in your front leg.
4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds or four to five slow, deep breaths.
5. Repeat this stretch on your other leg.
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