You don't have to use expensive equipment or a balance bar to stretch your legs. Seated stretches can help you get your muscles ready to exercise and cool down after an intense workout without any risk of toppling over. Stretching can improve your flexibility, increase muscle tone and reduce your risk of injury. You even burn some calories stretching, making this important part of exercise well worth the extra time.
You should feel a stretch, but should not feel any pain or tearing. Never force a stretch or try to extend a muscle more than it will comfortably go.
Stretch your ankles by sitting on the floor or in a chair and lifting one leg slightly off of the ground. Roll the ankle of that leg clockwise five to 10 times and then counterclockwise five to 10 times. Repeat on the other leg. To increase the difficulty of this stretch and to improve your range of motion in your ankle, try spelling the letters of the alphabet with each ankle.
Sit down with your legs extended directly in front of you. Put a towel or exercise band underneath the balls of your feet and grasp it on either side, slowing pulling your feet backward. This stretches your ankles, shins and calves.
Stretch your hamstrings by sitting down with your legs apart to form a "V." Bend your torso over your left leg and grip the ball of your foot while pulling your foot slightly backward. If you can't reach the ball of your foot, reach down as far as you can. Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds and then repeat on your right foot.
Sit with your knees bent and feet touching. Then slowly pull your feet in toward your torso and hold for five to 10 seconds. This stretches your hips and inner thighs.
- American Council on Exercise: ACE Lists Top 10 Reasons to Stretch
- ExRx.net: Seated Single Leg Hamstring Stretch
- Stretching Anatomy; Arnold G. Nelson et al.
- You should feel a stretch, but should not feel any pain or tearing. Never force a stretch or try to extend a muscle more than it will comfortably go.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.