Easy Stretching Exercises

Increase your flexibility with these easy stretches.

By increasing the flexibility of your walking muscles, you'll find it easier to get moving. Walking will feel good. Plus, the longer your muscles, the leaner you look. As with walking, it pays to do these moves frequently. Spend four minutes performing these quick stretches after each of your walks.

  1. Standing Side Lunch: Stretches inner thighsStand with your feet about 4 feet apart, toes pointed forward and knees slightly bent. Bend slightly forward at the hips, maintaining a flat back, and shift your weight to your left leg. Sit back into the stretch, being sure to keep your left knee behind your toes. Place your hands on your left thigh. Hold 20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
  2. Half Happy Baby: Stretches hamstrings and glutealsLie flat on your back. Bend your left leg, place both hands on the bottom of your left foot and bring your left knee toward your chest. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat with the right leg.
  3. Child's Pose: Stretches lower back, shoulders, and kneesKneel on the ground with your toes together and knees slightly apart. Sit your hips on your heels and slowly lower your chest toward the ground. Extend your arms on the ground overhead. Hold 20 seconds.
  4. Side-Lying Quad Stretch: Stretches quadriceps, chest, and hip flexorsLie on your left side, propped up on your left elbow. Your hips and knees should be stacked. Bend your right knee. Reach your right hand behind you and grab your right foot or ankle, gently pulling your foot toward your back. Keep your chest lifted. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2006 issue of Family Circle magazine.