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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stiff from Sitting?
Try These Standing Leg Stretches

Are you like me this time of year, spending too much time at your desk or computer? I have found my legs becoming tight and stiff lately. Experts in applied physiology report many of us do not stretch the large muscles in our legs often enough to counteract the daily stresses of prolonged sitting or standing. I happen to be one of those people.

Today I turned to Joan Pagano's book "Strength Training for Women" and found four stretches that can improve our leg tone and enhance wellness. She instructs to take the stretch until feeling a gentle pull, but not pain, in the muscle. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds without bouncing which allows the muscle to lengthen. Breathe into the stretch, using the exhale to move deeper into the position.

Calf Stretch
Stand with feet together and place left hand on a chair back for support. Take a giant step back with the right leg and press the heel into the floor. Bend your left knee over your ankle. Feel the stretch in the back of the calf.

Hip-Flexor Stretch
From the previous position, come up on the toes of your back foot, bend the back knee toward the floor and press the bottom of the pelvis forward. Keep the left knee directly over the ankle. Feel the stretch in the front of the right hip.

Quad Stretch
Stand on your left leg with the knee soft. Bend the right leg and, holding the foot or ankle, bring the heel toward the buttocks. Feel the stretch along the front of the thigh. To intensify the stretch, press the bottom of the pelvis forward.

Hamstring Stretch
Stand on your left leg, with the knee bent. Extend your right leg to the front, and rest your heel on the floor; with the toe pointing to the ceiling. Bend forward from the hip, keeping your upper body in proper alignment. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Turn around to perform the sequence of stretches on the left leg.

Take some time to do these stretches - they really do take the "desk fatigue" out of your legs. For more fitness tips for women visit Joan Pagano's Website - there are lots of great tips for making the best of our new bodies post WLS.

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