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Occupational Therapist Nancy stretching hamstring with yoga strap

Stretching for health

Studies have foune that stretching improves joint range of motion (flexibility), decreases muscle tension, improves circulation, relieves muscle pain, prevents injury, and improves athletic performance (Nakaruma et al., 2015; Avela et al., 1999; Suzuki, 2005). Stretching the legs can allieviate low back, hip, and pelvic pain. 

Here's a New Year's Stretching routine to get started. Please consult with your doctor or a rehabilitation therapist before beginning any exercise routines. 

Tools Needed

  • Yoga strap, dog leash, or robe strap
  • A comfortable place to lay down (yoga mat or blanket)

Hamstrings Stretch

Strap S ABD

Start laying on your back with your feet on the floor. Lift one foot off the ground and loop the strap around the ball of the foot. Relax low back and shoulders. With leg straight and relaxed on, use your hands to walk up strap and raise leg up into a stretch. Keep knee soft, NOT Locked. Only raise leg as far as you can keep your bottom and low back flat on floor or bed. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Adductor Stretch

Strap S ADD

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor with both knees bent and feet on floor. Relax low back and shoulders. Loop strap around the ball of the foot. Begin with the hamstring stretch (ABOVE) and slowly swing the leg out to side, using arms for control and stability. Keep knee soft, NOT Locked. Keep your other knee bent and allow it to fall out to the other side if needed to keep back flat on bed/floor. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Abductor Stretch

Strap S ABD

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor or bed with both knees bent and feet on the floor. Relax low back and shoulders. Relax low back and shoulders. Loop strap around the ball of the foot. Begin with the hamstring stretch (ABOVE) and slowly swing the leg across the body, across midline to the opposite side. Use arms for control and stability. Keep knee soft, NOT locked. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Piriformis Stretch

strap stretch Pir

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor or bed with one knee bent and foot on floor/bed and other foot resting on opposite knee. Strap or hands are wrapped around bottom knee. Relax low back and shoulders. Gently bring both arms to bring bottom knee to chest to stretch opposite glute/hip. Keep shoulders relaxed and keep back flat on bed/floor hips even. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Please consult with your doctor or a physical therapist for an individualized session and exercises.

Give us a call to make an appointment today.

Resources

Nakamura K, Kodama T, Mukaino Y. Effects of active individual muscle stretching on muscle function. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014;26(3):341-344. doi:10.1589/jpts.26.341

Avela J, Kyrolainen H, Komi PV: Altered reflex sensitivity after repeated and prolonged passive muscle stretching. J Appl Physiol, 1999, 86: 1283–1291 [PubMed]

Suzuki S: Testing of the effects of physical therapy on myofascial pain by imaging. J Jpn Phys Ther Assoc, 2005, 32: 32–33 []

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