Seventy million physician office visits in the United States annually are due to musculoskeletal disorders. Stretch and flex activities are not just for the job sites where physical labor occurs, but also for those in the office and at home to avoid injury to the muscles, ligaments, and bones. The Danella Stretch and Flex Program works to engage our employees in movements to help reduce injuries and muscular tears.
Keeping the lower body stretched and pliable is vital to avoid injury while doing physical activities such as kneeling, crouching, or jogging. By encouraging flexibility in the hamstrings, calf muscles, and thighs, the body is better prepared to prevent knee, ankle, or muscle strain injuries. Charley horses, or muscle cramps, occur more often in the lower body, especially the legs. Stretching can help relieve the pains or prevent them.
The three stretches shared below are options to help keep your body safe when engaging in strenuous activities or avoid simple injuries.
The hamstring muscle, located in the back of your thigh, can with overexertion and become tense. To release the muscle, there are two options.
Option 1 –
1. Stand with one foot on a box or stool (height can be added based on flexibility)
2. Lean forward from the waist as far as you need to feel the stretch in the back of the leg that is on the ground. Do not extend your knee over the foot of the bent leg.
3. Keep your back straight
4. Hold for 20 seconds then switch sides, and repeat twice
Option 2 –
1. Assume a stride position with the right leg forward and both legs straight
2. Keep the feet flat on the floor and toes pointed forward
3. Place both hands on the right thigh
4. Slowly bend forward over the right knee, keeping head and back straight
5. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides and repeat twice
The calf muscle, which is on the lower part of your leg, is more often the spot for muscle cramps. By engaging in the steps below to stretch, individuals are less likely to have muscle strain and tendinitis in the Achilles.
1. Use a wall or solid object to push against
2. Stand with one foot far in front of the other
3. Bend the front leg as you try to push, back heel to the ground
4. If this is too easy, extend the back leg further
5. You should feel it in the back lower part of the leg
6. Hold for 20 seconds, and repeat on both sides twice
FRONT THIGH STRETCH
Tight thighs can lead to mobility issues and strain on your lower body as a whole. Using the steps for this stretch can help to ease the tension:
1. Stand and hold onto something for support
2. Grab the right ankle or pant leg with the right hand
3. Keep the knees as close together as possible without letting one knee go in front of the other
4. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat on both sides twice
Check out some other stretch and flex activities in our series by clicking here.