Stretching reduces the risk of injury and stiffness, increases the range of movement in your joints and improves flexibility. The stretching exercises shown below should only take a couple of minutes to perform. Carry out stretches in a slow and controlled manner and do not hold your breath. Exhale as you move into the stretch and breathe normally as you hold the stretch.
Step your left leg forward and bring your right foot up into its toes. Bend your knees and place both hands on your left thigh for support. Press your right heel down towards the ground until you feel a slight stretch in your right calf. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change legs and repeat. It you wish to increase the stretch, face a wall and use both hands to push against the wall.
Place your right leg a little way out in front of you. Bend your left leg and place both hands on your left thigh for support. Slowly and without rounding your back, lean forward until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your right leg or behind your right knee. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change legs and repeat. If you wish to increase the stretch, place your front leg on a step or low stool
Place your right hand on the back of a chair for balance. Bend your left leg behind you and take hold of your ankle with your left hand. Without bending, slowly move your knee backwards until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your thighs. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds then change legs and repeat.
Stand next to a wall. Place your left palm against the wall at about shoulder height with your arms slightly bent. Without straining, gently rotate your body to the right until you feel a stretch across your chest. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change arms and repeat.
Cross your left arm in front of your body at shoulder level and place your right hand just behind the elbow. Use your right hand to gently pull your left arm further across your body until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your shoulders. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds. Relax both arms for a moment, then change arms and repeat.
(Taken from Reader’s Digest Healthy Bones, Muscles and Joints)