Top 5 Anywhere, Anytime Stretches

By LaReine Chabut, Madeleine Lewis

Part of Stretching For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Stretching is a great way to maintain your health and reduce your stress levels. As with any type of exercise, it is always difficult to find time to work it into your day. Here’s some tips to help make stretching easier.

The following five stretches are great anywhere — they’re fun, easy to do, and amazingly effective!

  • Neck stretch: Find a sturdy chair that you can sit comfortably in and lightly grasp the base of the chair with your right hand. Slowly rotate your head to the left as you lean forward slightly. Hold this position, maintaining the light to medium stretch for at least one full minute. Repeat on the other side by simply reversing the instructions.

  • Chest stretch: Kneel on a carpeted floor or mat with your forearms crossed and resting on the seat of a sturdy chair. Inhale, and as you exhale, let your head and chest sink below the chair. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, breathing deeply to help you sink gradually deeper into the stretch.

  • Supported upper back stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on a sturdy surface for support. Walk your feet back far enough that you can extend your arms as you move your chest toward the floor. Exhale and press your chest toward the floor and your hips toward the ceiling so you have a slight arch in your back. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

  • Standing quad stretch: Stand up tall and place your right hand on a stable surface. Inhale and lift your left knee toward the sky and grab a hold of your left ankle with your left hand. Exhale and slowly lower your left knee, gently moving your left foot toward your left buttocks. To really feel this stretch correctly, try to tuck your pelvis under, thinking about your tailbone moving toward the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

  • Standing calf stretch: Face a wall and stand one foot away with your feet together. Lean forward, place your hands on the wall in front of you, and move your right foot back as far as you can with your heel on the floor. Bend your left knee slightly, keeping your right knee straight. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, gently press your hips forward, keeping your right heel on the ground. Hold the stretch for several deep breaths and then slightly bend your right knee without lifting your heel off the floor.