If you put stretching exercises on the back burner in favor of strength training or cardio, you increase your risk of injury. Regular stretching, according to Mayoclinic.com, increases muscle flexibility and reduces the risk of injury during sports or other activities. High heels, intense workouts and running can cause tight calf muscles. Those tight calf muscles can cause you to walk incorrectly, throwing your spine out of alignment or cause foot problems such as ankle pain or plantar fasciitis.
Upper Calf Stretch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Take a step forward with your left foot.
Bend your left knee, keeping your right leg straight and your heel flat on the floor. Do not bend at the waist. Continue to bend the left knee and drop down until you feel the stretch in your right calf muscle. Do not allow your left knee to go past your left toes. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
Return to the starting position. Repeat with the right leg forward. Perform two to four repetitions.
Walking Lunge into Calf Raise
Stand with your feet together and hands on your hips for balance. Step forward with your left foot, bend your left knee and bring your right knee close to the floor. Your left knee should be at a 90-degree angle in a basic lunge position.
Push up with your left heel and raise your right leg to come together with your left. While bring your right leg forward, bend the knee 90 degrees so that your shin is parallel to the floor. Push up on the toes of your left leg for a calf raise and pause in this stretch for a few seconds.
Step forward out of the calf raise with your right leg and continue into the lunge position. Repeat the steps. This is one repetition. Repeat for eight to 12 repetitions.
- Stretching exercises should create muscle tension. You should not feel pain. If you experience pain, stop the exercise immediately.
- MayoClinic.com recommends performing stretching exercises at least two to three times a week to maintain flexibility.
- Consult a physician before starting any new stretching program.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.