When walking for exercise, it’s important to stretch before and after you walk. Follow the stretching techniques shown below and remember to stretch slowly, without bouncing. You only need to stretch far enough to feel your muscles elongating, not until you feel pain. Talk to Seattle podiatrist, Dr. Kerch, if you have specific questions about your stretching routine.
1. Head Circles
Start with your ear near your right shoulder. Rotate your head around to the front, ending with your ear near the left shoulder. Roll your head back to the other side. Repeat 5-10 times.
2. Arm Circles
Lift arms out at your sides and make forward arm circles. Keep your palms facing in and your thumb pointed down. Make 20 forward circles with each arm. Then make backwards arm circles with your palm facing out, thumb pointed up. Make 20 backward circles with each arm.
3. Ankle Circles
While sitting or lying down, lift your right leg from the hip so that your thigh is about 1 inch off the ground/chair. Keeping your knee straight, rotate the foot at the ankle joint slowly in a circular motion. Make 10 circles with your ankle going clockwise and 10 going counterclockwise. Repeat with your left leg.
4. Hip Stretch
Stand up and take a step back with your right foot. Bend your left knee and shift your weight back to your right hip. Keep the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach further down your right leg. Hold for 20 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.
5. Side Reaches
Reach one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your shoulders straight to the side. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. Leg Curl (Quadriceps Stretch)
Stand straight up and if necessary, hold onto a wall for support. Bend your right foot behind you to your buttocks with your right hand. Keep standing up straight and push your knee gently back as far as you can comfortably go, keeping your heel in place. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with your left foot and hand.
7. Wall Push (Calf Stretch)
Lean into a wall with your feet about 3-4 feet away from the wall, bracing yourself with your arms. Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight with your foot flat, your head up and your toes pointed straight ahead. Keeping your back straight, move hips forward until you feel a stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
8. Achilles Stretch
From the calf stretch position, bend your knee back so your leg straightens, stretching the Achilles tendon. Keep your heel down and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This tendon requires a lot of special attention and is often skimped on while stretching. Many Achilles (calf) stretches can be performed while sitting. For instance sit with your legs stretched out straight. If this is not possible bend your knees to protect and "warm up" your back before trying to reach down. Here is another hip and leg stretch you can do while sitting. Spread your legs out from each other (bend knees if needed). Then roll a ball to a child for a safe inside game. Have fun with stretching!
Stretch your arms up over your head. Bend the right arm, pushing the right elbow back and down with your left hand. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
10. Hip flexors, hamstrings and lower back
Bend your right leg forward until your knee is directly over your ankle. Rest your left knee on the ground. Keeping your right leg in place, lower your hips and slide your left leg back slightly, stretching as far as you are comfortable. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
To make an appointment with Dr. Kerch, please call 206-786-0064
We are located at 1201 Pine St. Seattle, Wa 98101, on the east corner of the freeway and Pine St.