During the summer
months, its easy to get distracted from fitness basics
due to the ambush of vacation, house guests, chauffeuring
family members, and job demands. When you pay the price
for the change in aching muscles in your back and legs,
there is one simple stretch you can do almost anywhere to
soothe the troubled areas.
Familiar to anyone who has
studied yoga, this slow motion movement stretches the neck,
back, gluteals, hamstrings, and calves. (Do not practice
this stretch if you have a serious back problem.)
1. Stand on
a level surface with your feet facing forward, about
shoulder length apart.
slowly, gently bending forward with your hands sliding
down the fronts of your thighs. Bend from the hips.
3. As you
slowly exhale, hold an elbow in each hand and slowly
round over. Tuck your chin toward your chest. Bend
your knees if you feel uncomfortable at any stage.
As you get more comfortable with this stretch, try
straightening your knees little by little.
of the Stretch
slowly. Place your hands on your shins, fingers
pointed down. Straighten your back, arms and legs.
Look slightly forward. Your back should now be almost
parallel to the floor. Shift your weight toward
your toes and at the same time think about lifting
your buttocks upward. Breathe deeply.
2. To return
to the upright position, inch your hands up toward
the top of your thighs. Tuck your abdominal muscles
and lift your torso till youre standing straight
Be sure to take your
time with this movement. The slower, the better. If
you feel a little unsure of your balance, stand by a
wall so you can steady yourself if you start to teeter.
Your balance muscles will improve with a little time.
This movement is great
to ease the muscle tension from riding long hours in
a car, sitting on a plane or at a desk. Its also
a wonderful wake-up call for your muscles in the morning.