Stretching Feels Good!

Woman Stretching

Rolling out of bed every day, you’re usually so harried, that you hit the ground running to be on time, right? At work, are you stuck at a desk for hours doing the same repetitive task? Feeling virtuous about dashing out for a run or walk? You should! But do you prepare your body first? No? Not good!

We realize that you might have physical limitations from your cancer treatment, so please be sure to follow the instructions you’ve been given to manage range of motion issues. Gentle stretching can help your overall well-being.

Before you engage in any activity—even the most casual—your muscles, tendons, and ligaments all need to S-T-R-E-T-C-H for optimal comfort, conditioning, and health. Follow these guidelines for safe stretching:

  • Take a few minutes to warm up your muscles with a full-body “shimmy”—gently twisting from side to side, and shaking out arms and legs.
  • Clear the air with deep breathing. Inhale through the nose, expanding the chest and diaphragm with a full breath then exhale through the open mouth making a “Ha” sound to squeeze out all the stale air from the lungs.
  • Focus on arms first: in a sitting position, raise arms overhead and interlace fingers (as seen in the picture). Pull up to elongate the spine, then slowly lean to one side. DO NOT OVER-EXTEND YOURSELF! You should feel a slight release of tension—NOT PAIN! Breathe deeply as instructed above, holding the position 5-8 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Turn your attention to legs: Sit with legs extended in a comfortable “V” position, then slowly turn toward each leg and bend from the waist aiming to touch your toes. DO NOT BOUNCE! Simply lower the upper body to a comfortable position. You will feel a slight pull—NOT PAIN!
  • Stand to repeat both arm and leg extensions, breathe deeply and hold positions for 5-8 seconds each.
  • Stretch calves: Stand arms-length from the wall, move one leg forward, flex foot and place bottom of the foot against the wall. Lean forward slightly, just until you feel the resistance of calf muscle start to release. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Regular stretching promotes flexibility, helps relieve stress, and can improve range of motion in your joints, too! Try it!