Netfit.co.uk Stretching Ebook

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Welcome to this stretching ebook provided by the fitness team from www.netfit.co.uk The content from this ebook has been taken from the 1,000’s of pages created in our members area, which also includes hundreds of videos, to help you achieve all your fitness goals - please take a look to see what our site can offer you - www.netfit.co.uk The first section of the book, deals with a selection of different types of stretches for each main muscle group and also the theory behind stretching. The second section gives you a selection of main stretches and exercise movements to help you warm-up your muscles. The third area provides suitable stretches and warm-up advice for a multitude of sports. The final section gives suitable stretches and advice for everyday life, from back care to stretches at work. Intro and Index

1-2

Bicep and Triceps (Arms)

46 - 50

Why Stretch

3-6

Buttocks and Hips

51 - 56

Warm-up Advice

7-9

Calf and Toes

57 - 64

Mobility Exercises

10 - 13

Chest

65 - 68

Techniques

14 - 16

Hamstrings

69 - 77

Physiology

17 - 23

Neck

78 - 82

Range of Motion

24 - 25

Quadriceps

83 -86

Abdominals

26 - 31

Shoulders

87 - 92

Adductors (Inner Thigh)

32 - 39

Wrists

93 - 95

Back

40 -45

Warm-up Stretches

96 - 103

Dynamic Stretches

Cool Down Stretches

104 - 110

Foot Drills

111 - 120 121 1


American Football

122 - 123

Martial Arts

159 - 160

Athletics

124 - 129

Netball

161 - 162

Badminton

130 - 131

Parachuting

163 - 164

Baseball

132 - 133

Rock Climbing

165 - 166

Basketball

134 - 135

Rugby

167 - 168

Running / Jogging

169 - 170

Bowling

136

Boxing

137 - 138

Sailing

171 - 172

Cricket

139 -141

Skiing

173 - 174

Cross Country Skiing

142 - 143

Squash

175 - 176

Cycling

144 - 145

Surfing

177 - 178

Football / Soccer

146 - 147

Swimming

179 - 180

Golf

148 -149

Tennis

181 - 182

Gym

150

Volleyball

183 - 184

Hockey

151 - 152

Walking

185 - 186

Horse Riding

153 - 154

Water Skiing

187 - 188

Ice Hockey

155 - 156

Weight Lifting

189

Inline Skating

157 -158

Back Care

190 - 195

Quick Stretch

200 - 202

Manual Work

196 - 197

Relax

Office

198 - 199

Traveling

203 204 - 205

Page 206 has a screen shot of some of the videos we have in our members area.

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Stretching should become a regular routine for everyone, not just for professional athletes who already understand the benefits associated with performing a sequence of stretches. Some of these benefits are physically apparent, such as a greater range of movement; while others can’t be seen, but are felt from within, such as an increased feeling of relaxation and general well being. Stretching is not like going on a diet, where you may find yourself feeling bad for a while because you are restricted to certain foods. Once your target weight is reached, you then stop your diet and, for many, begin the negative phase again, eating the same foods that made you overweight in the first place. Stretching, once done properly, can become an unobtrusive and enjoyable part of your daily routine, which you will find yourself doing naturally, and reaping the benefits permanently. It can become a new way of life for many people-just look at the recent boom in Yoga and Pilates classes, which are based upon correct breathing, and stretching, and alignment. Numerous celebrities have recognized the positive effects of stretching, along with the “feel good factor”, and have seen the benefits in helping them cope with their stressful lifestyles. Some have even gone on to promote the techniques in their own exercise DVD’s. Once you can see and feel the benefits of something, it is much easier to stay motivated and to continue with it. Resting Heart Rate The best time to take your heart rate is when you first wake up in the morning, as this is when your body is at rest. If you can take recordings over three days to find an average, you will get a more accurate reading. For example, readings taken on three consecutive mornings might be 75 BPM (beats per minute), 72 BPM, and 72 BPM. The average is then calculated by taking the total number of beats and dividing it by the number of mornings tested. Answer: 75 + 72 + 72 = 219

219 ÷ 3 = 73 BPM

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To take your heart rate, place two fingers on either your wrist (radial artery), or neck (carotid artery). Avoiding pressing too hard, count the number of beats during a minute. Perform this simple test over the next three days, and then after one month, three months, and six months. START

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

AVERAGE

DATE 3 MONTH 6 MONTH 9 MONTH 12 MONTH Body Awareness Stretching enables you to become more aware of your body’s proprioception, i.e., having an internal awareness of any part of your body. Try this simple test, first using the index finger of your writing hand, then the index of your weaker hand. With your eyes closed, choose a number of precise points around your body, and aim to slowly place the index finger onto each point in turn. Score the test yourself by putting a tick in the box if you place your finger onto the body point, or a cross if you miss. NB: Avoid choosing the eyes as one of these points (in case you poke yourself in the eye by mistake), and don’t select moles, scars, or tattoos, as these will have no sensory paths to them, and as such you will be working purely on memory.

BODY PART

LEFT

RIGHT

LEFT EAR RIGHT EAR OPPOSITE THUMB OPPOSITE LITTLE FINGER LEFT ANKLE RIGHT ANKLE NOSE BELLY BUTTON 4


Flexibility TestFlexibility Test The hamstring muscles (located at the back of the upper leg) are tight in most people, especially men and football players. While sitting on the floor, shoes removed, place the soles of your feet flat against a wall and aim to take your fingers toward the wall. Do not “bounce�, or force your body into the stretch, but make sure that the movement is controlled and pain-free. Aim to keep your back straight, bending at the lower back/waist, keeping your legs straight and in contact with the floor. Focus on trying to touch the wall with the tips of your fingers. You may need to do this test with a partner, so that they can use a ruler to measure how far away you are from the wall. If you can touch the wall comfortably with your fingers, then you may want to try sliding your fingers along a coffee table, again keeping the legs and back straight, and, for accurate progression results, aim to use the same table each time you try this test. The distance you measure will be either be the distance away from the wall in the first method, or the distance over the end of the table in the second method. You may even wish to measure your flexibility both before and after your stretching routine, so you can see your increase in flexibility.

START

WALL

TABLE

WALL

TABLE

DATE 3 MONTH 6 MONTH 9 MONTH 12 MONTH . . . .

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Why Warm Up? Imagine your muscles to be like a piece of clay. When you first pick up the clay it is dry, hard, and non-pliable. You can aim to bend it into the shape you want, but will soon find that it splits and eventually breaks in two. After adding a little water, and some warmth from rolling the clay in your hands, the same non-pliable piece of clay quickly becomes soft and pliable and you are able to mold it into a whole array of shapes. The same can be said for your muscles: when cold they can be stretched, but muscle receptors restrict you from over-stretching them, and in turn prevent muscle damage. Basically, this means that you cannot achieve a full stretch when a muscle is cold, and equates to insufficient muscle stretch, especially if you are aiming to place high levels of stress upon the muscle, i.e., when you are about to exercise. As with clay, in order to achieve a greater level of stretch within the muscle, aim to spend time warming up,. A gradual increase in the heart rate will enable the warmth of the blood, passing more and more rapidly through the muscle, to steadily improve the muscle’s pliability. Look upon your warm-up as a sequence of logical events that will aim to give you the following benefits: A reduced risk of injury to the joints, muscles, and tendons. A reduction in muscular soreness and tension. An increase in heart rate, blood flow, body temperature, nerve impulses, metabolic rate, and oxygen utilization. Greater body awareness and mental alertness. Improved range of motion and enhanced physical ability. Sport specific stretching and focusing on the task ahead.

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The warm-up is one of the key elements to a successful stretching program, and, as such, you should allocate an adequate amount of time within your workout or stretching routine to enable your muscles to become adequately warm. Muscles can only achieve maximum performance when all their blood vessels are dilated, enabling sufficient blood flow. At rest, muscles only utilize 15-20 percent of blood flow, compared to 70 percent, or more, after only 10 minutes of activity. The warm-up can be both passive, using an outside influence such as hot shower, bath, heat lamp, massage, extra clothing, sauna and so on. Alternatively, it can be active, using body movement to generate warmth. During the active phase, athletes should aim to concentrate on imitating the movements that they will be performing when in full flow, for example, controlled punching prior to actually boxing or taking a Boxercise class. Runners tend to stretch their cold muscles before going for a run, and as such have little or not benefit the time they spend stretching. Greater results would be achieved if stretching were carried out after 10 minutes fast walking/slow jogging. Because the passive method works on warming up the superficial out layer of the body (i.e., the skin), we actually get the feeling of warmth. This method is not as effective as an active warm-up, because, with the exception of massage, there is no major increase in the blood flow through the muscles, and, as such, is only really suitable as a pre-active warmup. The best way to warm up is to combine both methods, where possible. If you are looking at just performing a stretching program, consider spending times in a warm bath first, to help raise your body temperature. When you come out of the bath, dress in warm clothing that is suitable for you to perform the stretches without restrictions. After your bath, spend a minimum of 5 minutes performing active movements prior to any actual stretching. Using the larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps (upper thigh) and the gluteal (buttock) muscles, is the most effective way to relocating your warming blood from areas such as the digestive to the muscles. A very simple active warm-up can consist of the following routine. You may already have your own routine or suitable aerobic video that you prefer to use. Alternatively you may wish to perform the dynamic warm-up movements in a very gradual method, increasing the range of movement as you feel your body warm-up.

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(1) March on the spot, gradually taking your knees a little higher, while at the same time working your arms, doing the finger, wrist, and elbow mobility exercises. 2 minutes.

(2) Follow this by taking one leg to the side, alternately, while raising both your arms out to the side (no higher that shoulder level). 1 minute.

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(3) Do some simple squats-holding your arms at just below shoulder level, take your hands to the front as you squat down, and then your arms to the side as you come up to a standing position. 30 seconds.

(4) Simulate a swimming action, arms only-front crawl, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke. 15 seconds each movement.

Repeat the above once more, or until you feel warm. The length of time you spend warming up will vary depending upon your age, fitness level, and the room temperature. By now you should generally be developing a light sweat, a feeling of general looseness, and a greater range of mobility prior to going into the stretch phase. You need to stay warm throughout your stretching, so you should quickly dry any sweat away. Ideally your hair should not be wet from your shower or bath. If possible, the room temperature should be increased slightly, or an extra layer of non-restricting clothing worn. If you start to feel cold, or your range of movement throughout the stretch is not what you normally perform, warm up the body again, and then continue with your stretching. 9


Just like the engine in a car has oil to prevent the damage of metal rubbing against metal, the body has its own lubricating fluid, called synovial fluid, which helps prevent wear and tear on the joint surfaces from bones rubbing against each other. When we first awake, this synovial fluid has drained back into its own reservoir around the joint (synovial membrane)-just like the oil within the car engine, which sinks to the bottom. When we wake up, or become active after long periods of inactivity, e.g. a plane flight, we should perform the following sequence to help “lubricate” the body. The sequence of movements involved for mobility is similar to those that are performed throughout your normal day, so, if time is a major factor, you may wish to begin with your warm-up, which will also aid in lubricating your joints. Once you are confident with each individual mobility exercise, you may wish to combine the exercises into your own routine, for example, working the fingers, wrists, and elbows all at the same time. (1) Fingers and Knuckles - Simply clench your fist and flick out your fingers, slowly at first (the complete action should take 3 seconds), then gradually increasing the speed so that you are clenching and flicking your fingers twice in a single second. Perform this action for 10 seconds, working both hands at the same time.

(2) Wrists - Rotate your wrists first clockwise and then counter-clockwise, in a slow, controlled motion, followed by simple flexion and extension of the wrists, with your fingers pointing straight out. You may hear a slight clicking sound when performing this movement, especially in the morning - don’t be alarmed its simple the fact that the synovial fluid is needing to lubricate the multitude of tiny bones in your wrist joint.

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(3) Elbows - Begin with controlled flexion (taking your hand up towards your shoulders) and extension (taking your hand down towards your hips) of the arm, bending at the elbow joint, with your arms tucked into your side. As you perform this action, turn the palms of your hands first towards and then away from the body, in order to create a slight outward twisting action at the elbow joint. You may also work with your palms resting on your thighs at the start of the movement, finishing with your hands at your shoulders - palms facing forwards - as per a surrender position. Repeat this movement 10 times, working both arms together, breathing comfortably throughout the movement.

(4) Shoulders - Raise the shoulders slowly upward toward your ears, in small movements, allowing your shoulders to relax downward naturally. Breathe in through your nose as you raise the shoulders, exhaling the air from your lungs in the downward phase. Gradually make the movements larger; and then switch to a circular motion of the shoulder joint, taking the shoulder in both backward and then forward circles. You may want to work the shoulders both together, or each shoulder separately. Whichever you choose, aim to work for a minimum of 30 seconds on each side, as your shoulders are generally the first area of the body to suffer when you are under any stress. (5) Neck - Aim to look over one shoulder then slowly turn your head to look over the other shoulder in an over-emphasized “No” motion. Repeat this 5-10 times each side, taking 2 seconds for each movement. After the “No” movement, perform a “Yes”, nodding action, taking your head downward first then upward again, repeating 5-10 times with 2 seconds for each movement either up or down. Next, gently side-bend the head, i.e., tilt your head toward your shoulders. Do not force this movement-as you start, gently let your head relax down toward your shoulder. Repeat 5 times each side, making each movement last 5 seconds. (Note: stop immediately if you experience any feeling of dizziness, and do not repeat.) You can finish by rotating the head in a clockwise and counter-clockwise motion. Focus on 11


simulating a spiral effect, starting with small movements, working out to gradually larger movements, and keeping the action under control at all times. Spend only a short time doing this exercise, as it can irritate the tiny neck joints, and think about keeping your neck “long� throughout (therefore avoiding taking your head back too far). If you have a very stiff or sore neck, it is best to avoid this exercise altogether.

(6) Trunk / Waist - Keeping your hands on your waist, make small twisting movements from your waist to take one elbow forward and the other one back. Follow this by sliding each hand downward on your leg toward your knees. Throughout both actions you should be standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your pelvis facing forward. Keep the motion under control, and avoid swinging or bouncing-remember that you are only warming up the joints, the movements should be no more than 4 - 8 inches to either the front or side.

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(7) Hips - Dependent upon your balance, you may want to hold onto a chair for support. In a controlled motion, extend one leg forward, then directly behind, in small movements keeping the leg straight. Placing your other leg on a raised platform will enable you to perform these routines without the foot of the working leg making contact with the floor. Take the same leg out to the side of the body (this is called “abduction�), again in small movements. Repeat 3-5 times. Finally, perform small circular motions with the leg, taking the leg from the center outward, first in a forward and then in a backward direction, and always controlling the movement of the leg. After you have performed these three simple movements you can repeat the complete process again, but this time make the movements slightly larger. If you find that standing on the same leg is uncomfortable, you should change legs frequently, ideally before any discomfort is felt. You may find it more comfortable having a slight bend (soft knees) in the leg you are not working. (8) Knees -Again holding onto a chair for support, if you choose, flex the leg to bring your foot behind you. Repeat this action on both legs 10-15 times, in a smooth, controlled motion. Follow this action on both legs by performing a circular motion of the foot from the knee joint in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, 5-10 times. You may find it easier to perform this and the ankle and toe exercises while seated on a suitable chair. (9) Ankles / Toes - Perform the same sequence for the ankles as for the wrist, using circular motions in both directions, followed by flexion and extension of the foot. After this, place your heels on the ground and raise your toes off the floor. Concentrate on curling up and relaxing your toes. It is best to carry out these exercises without wearing any footwear.

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There are numerous methods of stretching, each with their pros and cons. For beginners, however, the most common and safest form would be static stretching. Static stretching - As the term describes, this method implies holding a stretch at a point where the muscle is under full stretch. It is easy to learn, and considered one of the safest methods, while still giving a good stretch to the muscle; if carried out after a suitable warmup. Its main disadvantage is for general activity, in that while stretching, the body’s muscles are getting cold. For some individuals this may mean that their muscles have not been specifically placed under the amount of exertion that they are used to in their regular activity. Isometric stretching -Another form of static stretching comprising the tension of a muscle while in its isometric phase (fixed point of contraction, normally at the halfway point of its range of movement). An example would be while pushing against a wall to stretch the calf muscle. Isometric stretching is not recommended for children or adolescents, whose bones are still growing, as this method places pressure onto the tendons. PNF stretching (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) -This method of stretching can produce excellent rapid results, due to its technique in using isometric contraction of the muscle before the stretch is carried out. PNF is normally done with the assistance of a partner, as good communication between both people is essential, in order to achieve optimum results and avoid injury. Ballistic stretching -This is a method of stretching that is being slowly eliminated due to numerous studies showing that uncontrolled bouncing movements have been proven to trigger the stretch reflex (a part of the muscle that increases muscular tension to avoid any tearing within the muscle). It is still used by many martial artists and dancers, due to the explosive actions these people perform. This method does not allow the muscle to relax or stretch, it is simply forced into the lengthening procedure, as in standing with legs straight and bouncing at the waist to touch the floor with your fingers Dynamic stretching -Unlike ballistic stretching, dynamic stretching uses the movement in a controlled motion that is ideally simulated to that of the chosen activity, for example, a swimmer who is doing swimming motions on dry land. Dynamic stretching is a good method of preparing the body for high-level activities, but care should be taken to avoid exerting yourself too much as you begin the motions. This type of stretching is best performed after a thorough warm-up. Passive (or relaxed) stretching -Passive stretching is when you hold a relaxed position with your body-either on your own, with a partner, or using a specific piece of equipmentand make no active contribution to the stretch. A good example is lying on your back with your legs against a wall, and allowing gravity to increase the stretch. Passive stretching is excellent for tight muscles, or for areas that are difficult to stretch due to muscles being too weak to activate the stretch for themselves. Active stretching -Generally classed into three groups-free active, active assisted, and resisted. Active stretching increases active flexibility and strengthens the agonistic muscles, as free active stretch is one where your adopted position is held only by the main agonist muscle groups. For example, a straight leg left, while seated, uses the quadriceps (agonists) to relax the hamstrings (antagonists). Active assisted stretches will make use of 14


either a partner or a towel to increase the range within the stretch Suitable for young persons who have weak agonist muscles, this method is used a lot in Yoga. Resistive active stretching makes use of resistance being applied to the stretch while contracting the muscle. Muscle energy technique -This technique is very useful where muscle tone is so tight (hypertonic) that it is almost impossible to stretch without risking injury. It is also useful for stretching difficult muscle groups, such as the biceps, for example-either on your own or with the help of a partner. It takes advantage of a state of muscle function, i.e., fatigue mode, to make stretching easier. You can utilize this technique on very tight neck muscles, for example. Resting your elbow on a tabletop or similar surface, support your head under the chin with the hand of the same arm. Next aim to turn your head to one side, while resisting the movement with the supporting hand. Hold the movement to the count of 40 and then repeat, with hardly any break for rest, at least 5 times. Wait 10 seconds and then make the movement again, this time with no resistance, and see how much further you can go as you stretch out muscles that are temporarily fatigued. There are numerous methods of stretching, each with their pros and cons. For beginners, however, the most common and safest form would be static stretching. Static stretching - As the term describes, this method implies holding a stretch at a point where the muscle is under full stretch. It is easy to learn, and considered one of the safest methods, while still giving a good stretch to the muscle; if carried out after a suitable warmup. Its main disadvantage is for general activity, in that while stretching, the body’s muscles are getting cold. For some individuals this may mean that their muscles have not been specifically placed under the amount of exertion that they are used to in their regular activity. Isometric stretching -Another form of static stretching comprising the tension of a muscle while in its isometric phase (fixed point of contraction, normally at the halfway point of its range of movement). An example would be while pushing against a wall to stretch the calf muscle. Isometric stretching is not recommended for children or adolescents, whose bones are still growing, as this method places pressure onto the tendons. PNF stretching (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) -This method of stretching can produce excellent rapid results, due to its technique in using isometric contraction of the muscle before the stretch is carried out. PNF is normally done with the assistance of a partner, as good communication between both people is essential, in order to achieve optimum results and avoid injury. Ballistic stretching -This is a method of stretching that is being slowly eliminated due to numerous studies showing that uncontrolled bouncing movements have been proven to trigger the stretch reflex (a part of the muscle that increases muscular tension to avoid any tearing within the muscle). It is still used by many martial artists and dancers, due to the explosive actions these people perform. This method does not allow the muscle to relax or stretch, it is simply forced into the lengthening procedure, as in standing with legs straight and bouncing at the waist to touch the floor with your fingers Dynamic stretching -Unlike ballistic stretching, dynamic stretching uses the movement in a controlled motion that is ideally simulated to that of the chosen activity, for example, a swimmer who is doing swimming motions on dry land. Dynamic stretching is a good method of preparing the body for high-level activities, but care should be taken to avoid 15


exerting yourself too much as you begin the motions. This type of stretching is best performed after a thorough warm-up. Passive (or relaxed) stretching -Passive stretching is when you hold a relaxed position with your body-either on your own, with a partner, or using a specific piece of equipmentand make no active contribution to the stretch. A good example is lying on your back with your legs against a wall, and allowing gravity to increase the stretch. Passive stretching is excellent for tight muscles, or for areas that are difficult to stretch due to muscles being too weak to activate the stretch for themselves. Active stretching -Generally classed into three groups-free active, active assisted, and resisted. Active stretching increases active flexibility and strengthens the agonistic muscles, as free active stretch is one where your adopted position is held only by the main agonist muscle groups. For example, a straight leg left, while seated, uses the quadriceps (agonists) to relax the hamstrings (antagonists). Active assisted stretches will make use of either a partner or a towel to increase the range within the stretch Suitable for young persons who have weak agonist muscles, this method is used a lot in Yoga. Resistive active stretching makes use of resistance being applied to the stretch while contracting the muscle. Muscle energy technique -This technique is very useful where muscle tone is so tight (hypertonic) that it is almost impossible to stretch without risking injury. It is also useful for stretching difficult muscle groups, such as the biceps, for example-either on your own or with the help of a partner. It takes advantage of a state of muscle function, i.e., fatigue mode, to make stretching easier. You can utilize this technique on very tight neck muscles, for example. Resting your elbow on a tabletop or similar surface, support your head under the chin with the hand of the same arm. Next aim to turn your head to one side, while resisting the movement with the supporting hand. Hold the movement to the count of 40 and then repeat, with hardly any break for rest, at least 5 times. Wait 10 seconds and then make the movement again, this time with no resistance, and see how much further you can go as you stretch out muscles that are temporarily fatigued.

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The importance of the role of the musculoskeletal system. When we talk about stretching the body, we are describing stretching a system known as the musculoskeletal system. This system includes the bones of the skeleton, along with the ligaments, muscles and their tendons, which help to move and support these bones. The musculoskeletal system has developed primarily for the purpose of locomotion or movement. It also provides an excellent supporting/protective system to the vulnerable internal organs, whose main role is to provide the musculoskeletal system with nourishment, stimulation, and purification. Many people consider the nervous system, including the brain; or the circulatory system, including the heart, to be the most important systems. It goes without saying that if the heart stops and the brain ceases to function, the body dies. However, without the body being able to move and generate energy and heat, search for food, help circulate the blood and lymph, expand the rib cage in order to breathe, and perform numerous evasive movements in order to protect itself, it would not be able to exist and function naturally. Therefore, it would be quite reasonable to state that the musculoskeletal system is the most important system. By accepting the importance of its role of importance, we must also recognize that the need to maintain it in top condition should be paramount. If this is difficult to understand and accept, consider the plights of people who suffer from advanced muscular dystrophy, or are totally paralyzed. Gradually their organs fail, their lungs cannot function properly, or unaided, due to weakness in the respiratory muscles, and the lack of posture causes a stasis in both the lungs and the circulation, normally resulting in severe infections and eventual death. The components of the musculoskeletal system. There are three main components to this intricate system, all working in conjunction with each other, and all having some effect on the system as a whole. The first component is the skeleton. This consists of numerous bones, whose shape and structure reflects their role, and which are brought into contact with each other to make a “joint”. This gives rise to a structure made of a very solid, strong material, which is able to articulate. The outer layers of the bones consist of a hard, dense material, while the centers are made of a spongy cortex that makes the bones lighter, otherwise we would not be able to move our own weight! This cortex also provides a medium for the rich network of blood vessels to penetrate through the bones, providing nourishment, and transporting away the new red blood cells that are manufactured in some bones. The ends of all articulating bones are covered in a cartilaginous surface (hyaline), which helps to protect the bones against the wear and tear caused by continual movement and friction, and allows the bones to “glide” over, or against, each other. 17


Articulating joints are called synovial joints, because, as well as the bone-ends being covered with cartilage, the whole joint is encased in a capsule, a bit like a sleeve/tube enveloping both ends together. Lining this capsule is a membrane called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid (synovial fluid) that lubricates the surfaces. To keep these joints aligned properly with one another is our second component, the ligaments. These are strap-like structures consisting of dense fibrous tissue, which are positioned in such a way as to allow movement, but also to restrict the range of movement to within a safe level to prevent damage to adjacent tissues and structures. Ligaments also assist in support. Ligaments are normally positioned around the joint and outside of the joint capsule (extracapsular). If you have ever strained your ankle or knee, you will find this easy to understand. The ligaments that support these two areas allow flexion, extension, and some degree of rotation. In the case of the knee there are two important extra ligaments called “cruciates” (because they cross over each other). These are located inside the joint capsule (intracapsular), and limit the forward/backward shift of the femur (thigh bone) on the tibia (leg bone). Damage to any of these ligaments, as a result of injury and trauma, can give rise to sudden misalignment of the bones, pain and swelling in the joint itself, and instability, which frequently leads to subsequent recurrence of the same injury. Treatment is normally based on restabilizing the joint with some form of strapping, and because this normally works well, demonstrates the importance of the role of the ligaments in both posture and joint stability. It is also important in a newly strained joint that you reduce the swelling that usually occurs as a result of inflammation. If the swelling, which is a build-up of fluid in the tissues, is allowed to persist, it will cause some structures to be stretched, especially unaffected ligaments, thus aggravating the problem. Reducing the inflammation by locally applied cold compresses and/antiinflammatory gel will greatly assist the overall healing process. A homeopathic remedy called Arnica is also very beneficial and is available in tablet or cream form. It helps to promote healing in bruised tissue, a symptom that is often not immediately obvious in strained or damaged joints. All of these remedies are most effective if initiated immediately after the injury occurs. Our third component is the muscles-probably the most complex yet versatile group of the three. Without muscles there can be no movement. Each muscle has a main part, or “belly”, and two ends called tendons. Muscles are normally firmly attached on the two bones either side of a joint via their tendons, and when the belly contracts, it shortens, and in doing so the tendons pull against their attachment on the bones shortening the distance between the two bones, and causing a movement at the joint. Skeletal muscles can also contract to cause other types of movement not involving joints, e.g., facial muscles contract to produce a smile; the diaphragm contracts causing the lungs to inflate. Skeletal muscle is made up of thousands of muscle fibers all joined together in bundles and separated by layers of fibrous connective tissue. 18


Many of the layers of fibrous tissue extend the whole length of the muscle, and end as part of the tendon that will attach to the surface of the bone. This continuity helps to provide the strength to the muscle structure. The shape of a muscle and the size, shape, and direction of the muscle fibers, can vary greatly between one muscle and the next, as they are all are designed to fulfill a particular role. The saying “structure is related to function” is most applicable here. Muscle and bone are two completely different tissues, therefore they need a third substance to help bond them together, just like wood and glass need putty. This third tissue is called periosteum, it is an outer covering to the bone, which is fibrous, allowing the fibers of the muscle tendon to blend with it, and thus form an attachment between tendon and bone. The condition known as tennis elbow arises as a result of too much tension being exerted by the tendon at its periosteal site, just above the elbow. The site at which the tendon attaches can be quite small in area, yet the pull on that area can be extremely high.. With persistently tight extensor forearm muscles, the continual pull by the extensor tendons can actually cause the beginning of a separation of the various fibrous layers of the periosteum. This leads to inflammatory changes taking place within the area, which in turn leads to further irritation of the muscle tendon, and as such a vicious circle is set up. To treat this type of strain, you need to reduce both the tension within the muscle by rest and/or stretching, and reduce the inflammation locally with icepacks, anti-inflammatory gel, or occasionally a cortisone injection is required. How do muscles work? Skeletal muscle tissue is connected to both the nervous system and the circulatory system, and needs both in order to function. The nerve supply: First, a muscle cannot initiate a contraction without a nerve impulse stimulating an electrical impulse at a site known as the neuromuscular junction. This simply translates as “no nerve impulse, no muscle activity,” which is clearly demonstrated where nerves have been severed or damaged due to trauma and where paralysis occurs. Where each nerve cell sends an impulse to a muscle cell a “motor unit” is formed. Depending on how many muscle fibers are supplied by that motor unit will determine the type of function of that particular muscle. If the motor unit is linked to just a few fibers (taking into account that this particular muscle may consist of thousands of motor unit/fiber components), a refined contractile movement of part of the muscle can be obtained, giving a more precise movement. This is seen in the muscles of the hands and face, for example. In muscles where one motor unit is linked to thousands of fibers, a more basic substantial contraction is involved, e.g., in the large bulky muscles of the legs. 19


The stimulation by the nerve impulse releases two main chemical components-calcium and a high-energy compound called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. In simple terms the calcium “switches on” the muscle and the ATP provides the energy for the contraction activity to be performed (this chemical release activates extremely tiny filaments that make up the muscle fiber, to slide across each other, causing a shortening of the muscle fiber, which results in a contraction). The withdrawal of calcium back into the cells “switches off” the muscle contraction and “switches on” muscle relaxation. The strength of the muscle contraction is influenced by many factors. These include the initial length of the muscle fibers, the metabolic state of the fiber, the number of motor units and fibers activated, and the load put on them. The stretch receptors: The nervous system supplies muscles with the means to contract (motor), but it also provides it with a second system, which gives feedback (sensory) to the brain, telling it what is going on within the muscle and where. This sensory system includes specialized sensory (stretch) receptors, called “muscle spindles”, and “Golgi tendon organs”, which are capable of detecting the degree of stretch in both the muscle, and its junction with the tendon, respectively. These are very important receptors, as they act as warning systems and will prevent the muscle from damage due to overstretch: as the muscle is stretched the muscle spindles are stretched too. When this happens, the stretch receptors are activated sending a signal to the brain, which initiates a motor impulse to encourage contraction to occur, thus preventing any overstretching of the fibers. This feedback mechanism is called “the reflex arc”. In summary, the motor nerve fibers instigate an impulse that leads to a contraction, which results in the stretching of other muscles. Stretching sends off a signal to the brain, which then leads to the stretched muscle contracting and regaining its shape/length, which is important in protecting it from injury. The signals that are sent from the muscle spindle to the brain are fired at a particular rate, which helps to clarify to the brain the exact degree of stretch, i.e., the change in length and the speed of change. In a slow, controlled stretch it is possible to re-train these receptors to become accustomed to a new length, before they trigger off the impulse to contract to protect themselves. Skeletal muscles almost always act in groups, and movements are produced by the coordinated action of several muscles. The way these groups work will vary depending on their role. Having stated that if stretch occurs an automatic signal will be activated to cause a contraction and end the stretch, it is necessary to add that this is not always so. There are 20


some muscle groups that work in cooperation with each other as agonists and antagonists, e.g., the biceps and the triceps. As the agonists contract, the antagonists are forced to relax. If this did not happen you would never be able to bend your arm, as there would be an ongoing power struggle between the two sets of muscles. The muscles, or muscle group, that actually cause the movement, are normally referred to as the “prime movers”. Muscles that contract at the same time as the prime mover and help to stabilize a part of that movement, or reinforce it, are known as “synergists”. An example of this is in the calf where the gastrocnemius muscle is the prime mover and soleus, which is located underneath the gastrocnemius, is the synergist, The soleus muscle is important in maintaining posture. Continuous feedback occurs automatically between muscle tissue and the brain, via the nervous system. If damage or disease occurs to the peripheral nerve itself, or at the neuromuscular junction, complete loss of tone can result. Causes can range from trauma or pressure, but also include disorders such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and the various forms of muscular dystrophy. Damage to the upper motor neurone within the brain usually results in disorders of increased tone and spasm. The blood supply to the muscles The circulatory system not only supplies blood by means of its arterial system, but also allows blood to drain from the tissues via its venous system. In the case of muscle tissue both systems are equally important. The arterial supply to the muscle is essential in providing the muscle with a continuously available source of calcium and the components to needed to manufacture ATP within the cells. The venous drainage allows all the waste by-products of muscle activity to be taken away from the muscle itself. One of the main by-products is lactic acid, and a build-up of this within the muscle is what can cause what we commonly call “a stitch”. Taking into account these facts should help you understand the overall concept of keeping the body supple and flexible, as the circulation, particularly the venous drainage element, requires rhythmic movement to encourage blood flow back toward the heart and lungs for purification.

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Extremely tight calf muscles can prevent this from happening satisfactorily. The regular rhythmic contractions of both the calf and buttock muscles combine to form a “pump” mechanism, which, in conjunction with a valve mechanism in the main veins of the lower limbs, encourages blood flow upward against gravity. People who sit all day or stand still in one place for long periods of time can compromise this mechanism. Typical symptoms of this are tired and achy feet and legs, and swollen feet and/or ankles. The ache directly results from the waste products being held too long within the muscle tissue. Posture and muscle tone Gravity has a continual pull on the various part of the body at all times. Our evolutionary development, ending with us standing upright on two legs, has meant extensive adaptation of our mechanism over the years. There is a noticeable difference in the human spinal muscle tone and development compared to that of four-legged mammals. These gradual changes have led to a redistribution of muscle bulk and fat around the body as a whole. Posture has to be maintained using the minimum amount of energy, which is why people with poor posture suffer with tired aching muscles. This may sound too simplistic, but any posture, whether it is sitting or standing, bending or stretching, is achieved by the combination and coordination of different muscle groups contracting and relaxing in order to achieve balance. If one or more groups are not able to take advantage of regular episodes of relaxation in between their role as contractors (perhaps because in doing so balance would be lost), then these groups will eventually fatigue, having used excessive energy to maintain their workload, and their tissue state would suffer. In order to consider good posture; look at yourself sideways on in the mirror sideways and ask yourself “Does more stick out the front than it does the back?” Sounds crazy? It shouldn’t, because if your body is being encouraged to lean forward due to poor abdominal tone, excess weight, or slumped and rounded shoulders, what do you think is stopping you falling flat on your face? The answer is overworked, tight, and tired back and calf muscles. This is why it is important to keep you weight down, maintain good abdominal tone, and help to keep those back muscles loose and relaxed. Which is the reason that regular stretching of your back and lower limb muscles are really important. Statistics show that more days are lost at work from back strain than any other injury. Age-related problems and changes due to injury Skeletal muscle undergoes various methods of repair. In young healthy adults with a steady supply of the components essential for these repairs, damaged tissue will be repaired as new, resulting in continuity of elastic muscle fibers. In older people, as fibers degenerate naturally or become damaged, they are not repaired with elastin (a protein) containing components, but are instead replaced with fibrous tissue, a process called fibrosis. This fibrous connective tissue may be relatively strong, but is unable to stretch as well as muscle, and, because it contains no actual muscle fibers, cannot contract. In essence, a muscle can gradually become so fibrosed, that the ratio of muscle fibers to connective 22


tissue becomes so low that the muscle loses its ability to function as a muscle and weakness occurs. While this is an unfortunate part of the aging process, a similar situation can occur as a result of repeated injuries at the same site. This is often seen in footballers, where the calf muscles can receive severe injuries from kicks. The tissues heal with fibrotic changes, which can lead to an inability to stretch the calf properly, and can subsequently lead to injuries occurring to other parts of the body as a result of an inability to move freely. Fibrotic tissue in the calves does not possess the same amount of elasticity and therefore cannot assist the “calf pump mechanism�. People who undergo surgery for repair to damaged tissue should aim to begin stretching the area gently, yet persistently, to prevent connective tissue layers sticking together as adhesions and giving the same long-term problems as fibrosed muscles. In summary, throughout our lives we should make regular effort to maintain our body by stretching, keeping our joints supple, and our getting our circulation moving.

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Different joints are designed to have numerous degrees of movement. The condition of these joints, especially the bone structure around them and there condition of health play a major part in the degree of mobility. Soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and tendons that have been damaged or torn contain scar tissue which reduces the elasticity. The major internal factor is the warmth of the muscle, when warmed through internal blood flow, muscle become more pliable. Major muscle mass or fatty adipose tissue will restrict the range of movement as these tissue will press against each other, causing a restrictive barrier. Stretching can be performed by anyone, at anytime, however for best results practice makes perfect, aim to gradually increase your range of movement, with out excess pain. Aim to stretch in warm conditions, in nonrestrictive clothing, once your body muscles and joints are warmed and lubricated. Drinking plenty of water will also aid in muscle pliability and the removal of waste toxins via your bodies lympathtic system. The following are guidelines for the Normal Range of Joint Mobility. Neck Flexion 65 - 90 degrees, bringing your chin down to your chest. Extension 40 - 55 degrees, tilting your head backwards. Lateral bending 30 - 40 degrees, taking the ear down towards dropped shoulders. Rotation 65 - 75 degrees, turning your head to look behind you. Lumbar Spine (lower back) Flexion 65 - 75 degrees, bending forward from the waist. Extension 25 - 35 degrees, bending backward from the waist. Lateral bending 30 - 45 degrees, bending to the side. Shoulder Abduction 160 - 180 degrees, taking the arm straight up sideways. Adduction 35 - 50 degrees, taking the arm across the bodies central position (midline). Horizontal extension 35 - 45 degrees, taking your arm straight behind you, horizontal to the floor. Horizontal flexion 125 - 135 degrees, taking your arm straight in front of you, horizontal to the floor. Vertical extension 40 - 50 degrees, lifting your arm straight behind you. Vertical flexion 170+ degrees, lifting your arm straight in front and then overhead.

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Elbow Flexion 130 - 150 degrees, taking your palm towards your shoulder. Extension 170 - 180 degrees, straightening your arm. Supination 80 - 90 degrees, turning your forearm so that your palm faces upwards. Pronation 80 - 90 degrees, turning your forearm so palm faces down. Wrist Flexion 80-90 degrees, bend wrist so palm nears underside of forearm. Extension 60 - 70 degrees, bend wrist so palm bends backward. Radial deviation 15 - 20 degrees, bend wrist so thumb turns outwards, palms facing down. Ulnar deviation 30 - 50 degrees, bend wrist so thumb turns inwards, palms facing down. Hip Flexion 110-130 degrees,raise knee towards chest. Extension 20 - 30 degrees, take leg straight back, without rotating the leg or leaning forward. Abduction 45 -55 degrees, take the leg out to the side. Adduction 20 - 30 degrees, take the straight leg across the central position (midline). Internal rotation 30 - 45 degrees, turning your foot out to the side with straight leg. External rotation 30 - 45 degrees, turning your foot in towards your central position (midline). Knee Flexion 120 - 130 degrees, taking your calf up towards your hamstrings. Extension 10 - 15 degrees, taking your foot towards your knee, with a straight leg. Internal rotation 5 - 10 degrees, turning your lower leg towards the central position (midline). Ankle Flexion 40 - 45 degrees, pointing your feet and toes upwards. Extension 15 - 20 degrees, pointing your feet and toes downwards. Pronation 25 - 30 degrees, turn foot so the sole faces inwards. Supination 15 - 20 degrees, turn foot so the sole faces outwards.

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Rectus abdominis originates on the sternum and ribcage and descends to insert on the upper edge of the pubic bone. Its primary function is flexion of the trunk. Rotation at waist level involves the use of the Obliques, which originate from the top of the pelvis and inguinal ligament and ascend to attach to the lower ribs, and descend to attach to the pubic bone. Normal range of joint motion in the spine, flexion (bending forward from the waist) 75 degrees - extension (bending backward) 30 degrees - lateral bending (bending to the side) 35 degrees. Easy Bar Twist 1. Stand with both feet facing forward, double shoulder-width apart, with legs slightly bent. 2. Use the bar to keep your upper body straight, with elbows high, as you slowly twist around in both directions. 3. Avoid moving at speed, or forcing the stretch. 4. Gradually increase the range of movement. 5. If you don’t have a bar / broomstick, then simply place your hands on your ears.

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Easy Spine curve 1. Begin the stretch by laying on your front, with your hands close to your chest, fingers pointing upward. 2. Exhale, pushing yourself up with your arms and contracting your buttocks while keeping both feet firmly on the floor. 3. Look up toward the ceiling, to also feel the stretch in your neck.

Easy Trunk Twist (seated) 1. Sit comfortably on a chair, raising both elbows high, hands clasped together. 2. Inhale, slowly twisting to one side, and aiming to keep your back straight throughout the movement. 3. Breathe comfortably while feeling the stretch along your oblique muscles.

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Easy-Moderate Partner High Dive 1. Lie on your chest with both arms extended straight out to the sides. 2. Your partner will be standing either side of your hips, grasping both arms between your biceps muscle and elbow joint. 3. As you slowly inhale, your partner will gradually lift your chest off the floor, aiming for an arch in your spine. 4. Contract your buttocks and keep your feet on the floor throughout the lift. 5. Good communication needs to be made between partners, making sure that both the lift and the lower are performed under control.

Easy-Moderate Swiss Ball Obliques 1. Rest the side of your body, from your hip to your under-arm, along the top of a suitable size Swiss ball. 2. Keep your lower leg straight, and slightly forward, and your other leg bent, with the foot behind to aid balance. 3.Exhale, lowering your top arm over your head, down toward the floor. Aim to stay relaxed on the ball, allowing the weight of your arms to control the stretch.

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Easy-Moderate Abdominals-Swiss Ball 1. Rest on a suitable size Swiss ball, which allows your buttocks and shoulder blades to keep in contact with the ball. 2. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the soles in contact with the floor. 3. Exhale, taking both arms over your head, allowing gravity to pull your arms slowly toward the ground.

Easy-Moderate Lying Trunk Twists 1. Lie flat on your back, with both hands extended straight out to your sides. 2. Slide both legs up towards one arm, aiming to keep the knees together, whilst allowing your lower body to naturally twist around. 3. Can be performed with either bent or straight legs.

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Easy-Moderate Bar Hang 1. Hang from a secure bar with both hands, keeping your feet in contact with the floor, ideally one pace back from the bar. 2. Exhale, gently pushing your pelvis forward, keeping your arms and legs straight.

Moderate Parachute 1. Lie face down on the floor, taking both hands behind your back to grab either your fore foot or ankle joint. 2. Inhale while slowly lifting your chest and knees off the floor, keeping your buttocks tensed and head looking upward slightly.

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Moderate Looking at Ceiling 1. Begin the stretch by kneeling on the floor, holding your heels with both hands. 2. Slowly exhale, lifting your buttocks up and forward while taking the head backward, in order to arch the back.

Moderate-Hard Back Arch 1. Bring both heels up toward your hips while resting your hands by your ears, fingers pointing down toward your toes. 2. Inhale, and lift your body upward. Martial artists may wish to rest their head on the floor to stretch the neck muscles as well. 3. Make sure the surface is non-slip, and that you lift your neck first, prior to relaxing the position.

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The Adductor muscles are frequently strained in sports such as soccer, and as such stretching of these muscles should always be undertaken for those partaking in active sports. The Adductors are a group of muscles that include: the Adductor Magnus, Longus and Brevis, the Gracilis and the Pectineus. The Adductors originate on the base of the pelvic bone and attach at intervals along the inside length of the femur (Thigh Bone). This interval attachment provides the most power and stability for the hip joint and the femur, with the muscles main job being to bring the leg towards or across (Normal range of movement is 45 degrees) the centre line. Easy Toe Grab 1. Begin this stretch with your heels together, holding both feet with your hands. 2. Lean forward from your hips, gradually increasing the stretch by bringing your heels closer to your groin, and your chest closer to your feet. 3. Make the movements small and controlled. Avoid bouncing and excessive upward pressure on your feet.

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Easy Chair Slump 1. Rest one foot on a secure raised platform, such as a chair, with the foot either facing forward or away from your body. 2. The other foot should be one stride away from the raised foot, with the leg being straight. 3. Exhale, slowly bending forward from your hips, and taking your hands down toward the floor. 4. Avoid bouncing, breathing comfortably while in the stretch position, returning up again using a slow controlled movement.

Easy Elbows Into Knees 1. Sit on the floor, grab both feet around the ankles, and slowly pull them in toward your groin. 2. Place your elbows against the inside of your knees, keeping your back straight throughout. 3. Slowly exhale as you push downward with your elbows, gradually pushing the knees toward the floor. 4. Relax the stretch for a few seconds, and then repeat, aiming to take the stretch slightly further. Sitting with your back pressed against a wall will help increase the stretch.

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Can also be performed with a partner, who can slowly push down on your knees as you gently exhale. Easy Side Lunge 1. Stand upright, with both feet facing forward, double shoulder-width apart. 2. Place your hands on your hips, in order to keep your back straight, slowly exhale, taking your bodyweight across to one side. 3. Avoid leaning forward, or taking the knee of the bent leg over your toes. As you increase the stretch, the foot of the bent leg should point slightly outward. 4. To increase the stretch, relax upward, slowly sliding your feet out a few inches to the sides.

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Easy Toes Pointing at 180 Degrees 1. While seated, aim to position your feet flat on the floor pointing the toes from each foot away from each other. 2. Slowly extend your body forward from the hips while gradually pushing on the inside of your knees to increase the stretch.

Moderate Frog Position 1. With your heels at shoulder-width apart, feet facing outward, slowly squat down, placing your hands on the floor. 2. Exhale, gradually push against the insides of your knees with your arms, and aiming to take the legs further apart while keeping both feet firmly on the floor. 3. This stretch is best performed, by aiming to gradually increase the distance of each stretch after relaxing and then repeating.

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Moderate Both Legs Raised (partner) 1. Life flat on your back, with your hands down toward your sides, to help keep your buttocks on the floor. 2. Raise both feet directly upward, and slowly take them out to the sides. 3. Your partner will hold the inside of your leg around the ankle joint. 4. When you reach your maximum stretch without assistance, exhale and have your partner apply light pressure onto your legs to increase the stretch. 5. Relax for a few seconds and repeat, to develop the stretch, communicating throughout with your partner.

Moderate Sitting, Legs Straight 1. Sit on the floor, with either your hands behind you, or your back against a wall. 2. Your partner will be kneeling between your legs, which should be spread, feet pointing upward, and legs straight. 3. Slowly exhale as your partner pushes your legs apart with their hands on your lower leg, communicating with your partner throughout the stretch.

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Moderate Towel-Assisted Pull Down 1. Lie on your back, keeping your shoulders and head in contact with the floor. 2. Utilize 2 towels wrapped around your feet to extend the stretch, by pulling downward with your hands. 3. This stretch is best performed with both your heels and buttocks pressed against the wall.

Moderate Side Bend Seated 1. Sit on the floor with both legs spread wide apart, keeping the heels on the floor. 2. Extend one arm up, over your head, and slowly bend from your hip, taking both your arm and the side of your body down toward the opposite leg.

Moderate Elevated Leg 1. Stand with one leg resting on a secure raised surface. 2. Your back foot should be one stride away, with the foot facing outward for greater balance. 3. Exhale, slowly bending the front leg, taking your pelvis forward.

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Moderate Feet Together Adductors 1. Lie on your back, with your heels pulled up toward your groin, aiming to keep the soles of the feet together. 2. Exhale, slowly applying pressure to the top of the your knees with your hands, pushing the knees downward. This movement is best performed with a partner pushing down on your knees to increase the stretch.

Moderate Standing Leg At Right Angles 1. Rest one heel on a secure raised surface, keeping the foot pointing upward. 2. Place your other foot firmly on the floor, facing forward. 3. With your hands grasped overhead, slowly exhale, bending downward from your side, and taking your head toward the raised knee. 4. Aim to have the legs at right angles. You may need to bend the leg that is not raised to achieve this.

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Moderate-Hard Head to Knee, Wide Leg 1. Sit on the floor with both legs spread wide apart. 2. While holding one foot, slowly exhale, pulling your head down toward one knee. 3. Aim to keep the legs straight throughout, using a towel if necessary.

Moderate-Hard One Leg Raised 1. Balance yourself by holding onto a secure object, with both feet facing forward. 2. Exhale, taking one leg slowly out to the side. Your partner will grab this leg around the inside of the ankle. 3. On each upward movement, exhale, then rest and inhale for a few seconds, repeating the process. 4. Avoid forcing the leg up, always controlling the leg as you lower it. Moderate-Hard Strange A 1. Kneel on all fours, resting on your forearms, with your knees spread wide, aiming to be in line with your hips, with your feet straight behind, toes pointing out. 2. Exhale, slowly lowering y o u r s e l f t o t h e f l o o r, extending yourself back, aiming to lower your groin to the floor.

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The back contains a complex network of muscles, nerves and the vertebral column. The spinal column contains 24 articulating (joined but move together) moveable vertebrae, and a further 9 where the bones are fused together ( sacrum and coccyx ) where no recognizable movement occurs. The spinal muscles basically consist of two layers, deep and superficial. The deep muscles work to move the joints on an individual level, predominately rotation and side bending, also they act as strong supporters of the spinal column as a whole. The superficial work in groups over a span several vertebra at a time, to perform the more stronger movements of extension and side bending, and help to co-ordinate the muscles working the limbs on the trunk. Most of the back muscles have dual purposes, one is to offer support and assist in posture, and the other is to perform a movement. Easy Lower Back-Cat Stretch 1. Adopt a position on all fours, point your fingers forward and your toes behind. 2.Start with a flat back, and then drop your head downward, pushing your shoulder blades upward and outward as you elevate your upper back.

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Easy Upper Back-Leg Grab 1. While seated, exhale, bending forward, and hugging your thighs underneath with both arms. 2. Keep your feet extended out as you pull your chest down onto your thighs, keeping both knees together. 3. While in this position, you can also stretch your rhomboids, by aiming to pull your upper back away from you knees.

Easy Fetal Position 1. Lie on your back, keeping your head on the floor. 2. Slowly pull both legs into your chest, and secure them there by wrapping your arms around the back of your knees. 3. Exhale, pulling down on your legs while gradually lifting your buttocks off the floor. 4. You can stretch your neck, once in this position, by slowly tilting your chin to your chest.

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Easy Spine Arch 1. Rest on your knees with your hands extended out to your front, grasping a secure object. 2. Exhale, gradually pushing your chest and abdomen downward to arch your spine. 3. Increase the stretch in your lower back by tilting your pelvis upward.

Easy Seated Elbow to Knee 1. While seated either on the floor or on a chair, place your hands behind your head. 2. Exhale, slowly tilting your right elbow down to your right knee while keeping the elbows pulled back. 3. Aim to keep your left elbow high.

Easy Seated Toe Grab 1. While seated, lean forward from your hips, relaxing your upper body on the inside of both thighs. 2. Holding both feet with your hands, slowly exhale, pulling your chest down between your legs. 3. Relax from the stretch with your arms, inhale deeply as you return to a seated position again.

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Easy Beach Ball 1. Keeping your back straight, extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height, slightly bent. 2. Place one hand in front of the other, palms facing you. 3. Slowly exhale, pushing the inner hand out while pulling the outer hand inward, aiming to make a circle with your arms. 4. Lower the head during the stretch, inhaling and relaxing the arms, before raising your head.

Easy-Moderate Backward Roll 1. From a seated position, roll slowly backward, using your arms to prevent your legs going too far over. 2. Support your hips with your hands as you lower your knees slowly toward your head. 3. Avoid excessive flexion of the neck, and take care not to hit yourself with your knees.

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Easy-Moderate Knee to Chest (partner) 1. Lie on your back, keeping your arms out to the side for balance while bringing your knees up toward your chest. 2. Exhale slowly while your partner pushes down on your knees, aiming to lift your buttocks off the floor, but keeping both your middle and upper back in contact with the floor. 3. Communicate with your partner throughout the stretch.

Moderate Upper Back Prayer 1. From a kneeling position, extend both hands out, fingers pointing forward. 2. Use your hands and forearms to grip the floor, as you gently ease your buttocks backward, until you feel the stretch in your upper back and shoulders. 3. Exhale, gently easing your chest down toward the floor.

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Moderate Upper Back-Partner Push 1. Place both palms on a wall, arms straight in a kneeling position, with your knees spread wide, sitting on your feet. 2. Communicate with your partner while they push down on your shoulder blades as you exhale. 3. You can adjust the hand position so that your palms are to the side, to also feel the stretch in your chest and shoulder muscles.

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The Biceps and Triceps make up the main muscles of the upper-arm, with the Triceps (the muscle at the rear) making up approximately 2/3rds of the upper arm mass. The Biceps originate on an area at the top of the Scapula or shoulder blade, near the shoulder joint, and go down to attach below the elbow on one of the two forearm bones called the Radius. Its main action is to flex the arm at the elbow joint. This movement is assisted by two other muscles, Brachialis and Brachio-Radialis. The Triceps muscle originates at the posterior/ lateral edge of the Scapular and goes down to attach below the elbow on the second forearm bone called the Ulna. The Ulna and Radius are situated side by side. The normal range of movement for the elbow joint, is 150 degrees of flexion (taking the lower arm up to the biceps), and 180 degrees of extension, (straightening out of the arm). Turning the lower arm so that your palm faces upwards, (Supination) 90 degrees, and turning the lower arm, so that the palm faces downwards, (Pronation) 90 degrees. Easy Hand Down Spine (partner) 1. While seated, extend one arm down the center of your spine, elbow pointing upward. 2. Your partner will pull down gently on your wrist while pushing down on your elbow. 3. Exhale slowly, communicating with your partner throughout the stretch.

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Easy-Moderate Hand Down Spine 1. Extend one hand down the center of your back, fingers pointing downward. 2. Use the other hand to grasp the elbow. 3. Exhale slowly, pulling gently downward on your elbow, aiming to take your fingers along your spine.

Moderate Tricep Dip-Eccentric 1. Place your hands on the edge of a secure chair, with your fingers pointing forward. 2. With your legs extended out to the front, lower your buttocks to the floor. 3. Hold the position when your arms are in the downward phase, in order to feel the stretch. Avoid holding too long, as you will not be able to rise .

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Moderate-Hard Tricep Interlock 1. Extend one arm down your back, fingers bent, palm facing your spine. Bend your other arm behind your back, palm facing outward with your fingers bent. 2. Aim to grasp both hands with your fingers. Exhale, pulling on both arms, keeping the fingers interlocked. 3. Be careful if you have long fingernails. 4. If you can’t grasp the hands, use a towel.

Moderate Tricep - Double Arm Pull Over 1. Hold a suitable weighted dumb-bell in both hands with your arms straight. 2. Exhale, lowering the weight downward by bending at the elbow joint, making sure that you don’t hit your head with the weight. 3. Hold the position in the downward phase, keeping your elbows close to your ears. Inhale, lifting the weight back up. 4. Avoid using a weight that is too heavy, and, if necessary, have a partner take the weight from you in the downward phase.

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Easy Bicep-Wall Stretch 1. Place the palm, inner elbow, and shoulder of one arm against the wall. 2. Keeping the arm in contact with the wall, exhale and slowly turn your body around, to feel the stretch in your biceps and pectoral muscles. 3. Adjust the hand position either higher or lower and repeat to stretch the multiple biceps and chest muscles.

Easy Biceps-Weight Assisted 1. Sit on a chair with one hand crossed on the opposite leg, placing your palm on the thigh. 2. Holding a light weight in the other hand, keep the arm straight between your legs, resting on your forearm against your wrists. 3. Allow the weight to straighten your arm while keeping your back straight and shoulders back.

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Easy-Moderate Pole Arm Roll 1. Extend one arm behind, grasping onto a pole, or similar secure object. 2. Your arm should be straight, with your elbow facing upward, and your thumb underneath your fingers. 3. Exhale, slowly rolling your arm around, so that your elbow faces the floor.

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Probably the most powerful muscle group of the body is the Gluteals. It consists of three muscle Gluteus maximus, medius and minimus and as abductors of the leg at the hip joint, it is one of the most important group used in walking. These muscles attach to the surface of the hips and border of the Sacrum (lower spine), and insert on the lateral (outer) edge of the upper end of the Femur or thigh bone. Piriformis, a deeper muscle, also belongs to this group and along with other smaller deeper muscles of the hips can perform different functions including abduction, lateral and medial rotation. Easy Knee to Chest 1. Raise one leg up onto a chair, resting your heel on the edge of the chair. 2. Slowly pull the knee into your chest. 3. Repeat the stretch again, this time taking the knee toward the chest and then across your body's centerline. 4. Repeat again on the other leg.

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Easy Office Gluts 1. Sit with a straight back on a chair, with one leg crossed over and resting on your opposite thigh. 2. Place one hand on the inside of the bent knee, and use the other to fix yourself into the chair. 3. Exhale, slowly pushing down on the bent leg while gradually leaning forward.

Easy TFL 1. Stand straight, placing one foot behind the other. 2. Exhale, slowly lowering yourself a few inches down toward the back foot. 3. Increase the stretch gradually by pushing the hip of the rear leg out to the side. 4. Concentrate on keeping both legs straight, with your feet in contact with the floor.

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Moderate Raise Knee Pull In 1. Lie on your back, lifting and bending one leg so it makes a right angle. 2. Place your other foot across the bent leg, using your hands if necessary. Aim to rest the foot above the knee, on your thigh muscles. 3. Exhale, slowly pulling the bent leg toward you, keeping your upper back and head in contact with the floor.

Moderate Toe Sniff 1. Bend one leg, grasping the ankle and shinbone with both hands. 2. Keeping your back straight, exhale and pull the foot slowly up toward the opposite shoulder. 3. This stretch is best performed against a wall to aid your balance; alternatively it can be done lying down.

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Moderate One Leg Over 1. Sit on the floor, with one leg straight, toes pointing upward. 2. Cross the other foot over the knee of the straight leg, aiming to place that foot flat on the floor. 3. Place the elbow and forearm of the opposite arm of the bent leg on the outside of the bent knee. 4. Exhale, slowly pulling the bent knee across your body.

Moderate Hip Flexor 1. Rest one foot and knee on the floor, keeping your back straight. 2. Use your front leg for balance, as you push the thigh of the rear leg forward while tilting the pelvis upward.

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Moderate Knee Pull (partner) 1. Lie flat down on your chest, with one leg bent, foot facing upward. 2. Your partner will grasp the bent leg under your knee, placing the other hand or forearm across the buttock of the bent leg. 3. Communicate with your partner, as they push down on your buttocks while pulling up at the knee.

Moderate Leg Over 1. Lie on your back, extending your left arm out to the side, while taking your left leg over your right, bringing the knee inline with the hips. 2. Keeping your right leg straight, use your right arm to push down on the knee of the left leg, exhaling slowly as you stretch.

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Hard Sprinter 1. Extend one leg straight back, resting the knee and front of the foot on the floor. 2. Your front leg should be extended forward, keeping the sole of the foot in contact with the floor. 3. Exhale, bending from your hips, aiming to place both your forearms on the floor while pushing your pelvis gently toward the floor.

Hard Contortionist 1. Sit on the floor crossing your left leg under your right, whilst the foot of the right foot remains on the floor pointing forward. 2. Exhale slowly whilst bending your upper-body, aiming to take your head down to your left knee. Repeat again for the other side.

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Calf muscles work in two ways, they perform the movement of lifting the heel and bending the ankle (essential in walking and lifting the body weight in standing), and also assist in bending the knee as their insertion is above the knee joint. The other important function is to assist in control of body tone required to maintain the standing posture. The deepest calf muscles can switch their contractions on and off adjusting to the slightest shift in upright movement of the body as a whole. Easy Toe Pull Up 1. Cross your left leg over your right, and hold the foot of your left leg at the ankle with your right hand. 2. Pull your toes slowly up toward the direction of the left knee, by applying pressure from your left hand. 3. You can apply more pressure, by placing your palm on the underside of your toes with your fingers running along the arch of your foot. 4.Exhale slowly while gradually increasing the pressure applied.

Easy Toe Pull Down 1. Cross one leg over the opposite knee. 2. Slowly pull the toes downward, by applying pressure from your fingers on the top of your toes while your thumb pushes upward against the ball of your foot. 3. You may wish to work each toe individually or as a group.

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Easy Calf Raise Down 1. Stand on a raised platform, on the balls of your feet, holding onto a secure object for balance. 2. Exhale, slowly dropping your heels down towards the floor and allowing your toes to raise naturally. This movement can be performed using either one or both feet.

Easy Pressure Down (partner) 1. Lie on your back, with one leg extended straight up, keeping the other leg bent, foot flat on the floor close to your buttocks. 2. Your partner will hold the leg straight, with one hand around your heel, while they apply downward pressure on the ball of your foot, aiming to bend it toward your knee. 3. While in the same position, your partner can also pull your foot upward, by placing one hand on the front of your foot and pulling upward, using the other hand to fix the heel in place. 4. Communicate with your partner, and keep your hands on the thigh of the raised leg to fix it upright.

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Easy Seated Toe Pull With Towel 1. Sit on the floor, keeping your back upright, with one leg straight, resting the other leg, ideally above the knee of the straight leg. 2. With a towel wrapped around the ball of the straight foot, exhale, pulling your toes toward you while pushing your heel away.

Easy Sole of Foot 1. Kneel on all fours, with the tips of your toes in contact with the floor, just beneath your buttocks. 2. Exhale, pushing your buttocks backward while aiming to place the balls of your feet on the floor, brining your heels up to your buttocks. Avoid wearing shoes for this stretch.

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Easy Soleus 1. Stand with both feet flat on the floor, pointing forward, half a stride apart. 2. Keeping your back straight, with your hands on your hips, exhale and lower yourself down, resting your bodyweight on the rear foot.

Easy Toe Flexions 1. Stand with one leg bent, resting the toenails on the floor, and keeping the heel raised. 2. Exhale, gently pressing downward and forward with your toes, aiming to make an arch with the foot by dropping the heel toward the floor while keeping the toes in contact with the floor. Easy Toe Flexions 2 1. Stand with one leg bent, keeping your toes and the ball of your foot in contact with the floor. 2. Exhale slowly, pushing down on your toes while lifting the heel of your foot.

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Easy Calf Correct Foot Position Foot alignment should be shoulder width apart, you can confirm this by standing either side of a straight line on the floor. When you take your rear foot back, it should not cross or move away from the midline, your foot should be pointing forward with your heel either flat on the floor, or raised if aiming to develop the stretch. Your front leg should bend so that when you look down over your knee, you can see the tip of your toes. Lean forward aiming to keep a straight line with your heel, hip and head. This stretch is best performed utilizing a sturdy object to push against; a wall for example.

Moderate Heel Up Develop the above stretch by beginning the stretch on your rear foot with your heel raised. Exhale and slowly push the heel down to the floor. Slide the rear foot back a couple of inches and repeat the process again. Concentrate on the stretch in the rear leg, whilst maintaining a good position in the front leg.

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Moderate Bar Pull 1. Hold a secure object with both hands together at waist height. 2. Keeping your hands fixed, slowly take your feet backward, keeping them shoulder-width apart, toes pointing toward your hands, with your feet flat on the floor. 3. Exhale, extending your buttocks backward, keeping your arms and legs straight. 4. Repeat again, aiming to point your feet toward each other.

Moderate Sit on Heels 1. Avoid this stretch if you suffer with any knee problems. 2. Elevate your feet with a rolled towel, and then slowly sit your buttocks back onto your heels. 3. Concentrate on keeping your knees and ankles together, with your feet pointing directly behind you. 4. While in this position, you can pull upward on your toes to increase the stretch along your shin.

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Moderate Foot Inversion 1. Extend one leg forward, keeping it as straight as possible. 2. Apply pressure on the outside of the foot, aiming to turn your outer foot inward.

Moderate-Hard Double Foot Inversion 1. Slowly lean forward from the hips, aiming to hold each foot with both legs straight. 2. Exhale out, gradually turning your feet inward using your hands to apply sufficient pressure.

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Moderate-Hard Achilles 1. Stand with one foot crossed over the other, feet together and pointing forward. 2. Exhale, lowering your hands from your hips, down toward your front foot, allowing your upper body to bend from the hips. 3. Keep your legs straight throughout, inhaling and slowly returning upwards at the end of the stretch.

Moderate-Hard All Fours Calf 1. Slowly lean forward, placing both hands flat on the floor, one large stride away, bending your legs, if necessary. 2. Exhale slowly, aiming to straighten one leg, placing the heel down to the floor. 3. Inhale, then repeat the stretch on the opposite leg, this time pushing down on your toes, with the heel raised slightly off the floor. Resting your hands on a raised platform will release the tension in the hamstrings.

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This includes the Pectoral muscles, and the intercostals muscles (the muscles situated between the ribs). The main actions of the Pectoral muscles are to move the arms back towards the body, even from the raised position above your head, and to medially rotate them. They are a very powerful muscle group and are often well developed in most sportsmen. This muscle group can also act as an accessory muscle during inspiration if the arm is for example fixed in an 'elbows bent hands on hip' posture. The intercostals muscles act as primary inspiratory muscles. Easy Doorway 1. Stand in a doorway, placing your forearms and palms in contact with the doorframe. 2. Exhale, slowly pushing your chest through the doorway, keeping your arms firmly on the frame. 3. You can adjust the position of your hands to work different muscle fibers of the chest (pectoral) muscles.

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Easy Office Seated 1. Sit on a chair, feet firmly on the floor under your knees. 2. Lock your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows high and extended back. 3. Inhale, pushing your chest forward and upward while arching the spine, taking your elbows further back.

Easy Elbows Back 1. Stand or sit up right, keeping your back straight, head looking forward. 2. Place both hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downward, elbows out to your side. 3. Exhale slowly while gently pulling the elbows back, aiming to get them to touch.

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Moderate One Arm Against the Wall 1. Place your forearm and biceps against a wall, keeping the arm at right angles. 2. Exhale, slowly turning your opposite shoulder backward, keeping the other arm firmly in contact with the wall. 3. Repeat this stretch both raising and lowering the walled arm, in order to work the different pectoral muscles.

Moderate Partner Crucifix 1. Sit with your arms either extended out to your sides, or with your hands grasped behind your head. 2. Communicate with your partner as they pull your arms back at the elbow joint. 3. Remember to exhale as you apply the stretch. 4. You can also perform this stretch with one arm, using the other arm to fix yourself into the chair, to avoid twisting.

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Moderate-Hard Chest-Swiss Ball 1. Relax on either a bench or large Swiss ball, placing your feet wide and firmly on the ground to give you good balance. 2. Holding a light dumb-bell in each hand, slowly lower the weights from above your chest, out to your sides at shoulder level. 3. Breathe comfortably while in the downward phase, holding the weights in this position to feel the stretch. 4. Aim to keep a slight bend in the arm in the elbow.

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The hamstrings consist of four muscles Biceps femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and a part of one of the adductors, Adductor Magnus. These are the posterior (rear) thigh muscles, attached to the lower part of the pelvis posteriorly, on the Ischial Tuberosity (boney base of buttocks) and stretch downwards to attach just below the knee joint. They are one of the strongest muscle groups in the body. The Hamstrings have two functions. Firstly they can produce extension of the hip (take backwards), and secondly they can flex (bend) the knee joint and rotate the leg. Easy Lying Straight, Leg to Chest 1. Lie comfortably on your back, concentrating on keeping both your head and buttocks in contact with the floor. 2. Slowly extend one leg upward, grasping it with both hands, either around the calf, the hamstrings, or a combination of both. 3. Aim to pull your leg toward your chest, keeping it straight. When the tension builds up in your hamstrings, relax the stretch a little by contracting your quadriceps on the same leg. 4. If necessary, use a towel wrapped around your foot, in order to keep your head on the floor.

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Easy Partner Pull 1 1. Sit on the floor, with your legs straight, facing your partner, and pushing the soles of your feet against their feet. 2. Both partners need to hold one end of a towel, keeping their arms straight and parallel with the floor. 3. Communicate with your partner, as one of you leans back, pulling on the towel while the other bends forward from the hips, aiming to take their chest to their thighs.

Easy Normal Stretch 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, one foot extended half a step forward. 2. Keeping the front leg straight, bend your rear leg, resting both hands on the bent thigh. 3. Slowly exhale, aiming to tilt both buttocks upward, keeping the front leg straight, and both feet flat on the floor, pointing forward. 4. Inhale slowly, and relax from the stretch. Repeat the stretch again, this time beginning with the toes of the front foot raised toward the ceiling, but keeping the heel on the floor.

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Easy-Moderate PNF (partner) 1. Lie on your back, with both arms out to the side, head on the floor, and one foot flat on the floor close to your buttock. 2. Raise the other leg straight, with your partner grasping the heel and front of the thigh. 3. Communicate with your partner as they aim to push your leg toward you, as you push your heel toward them. 4. If your partner is weak, rest your heel against their shoulder, so they can lean forward to increase the stretch. 5. Avoid applying too much force, and aim to perform the stretch in a sequence. Push for 10-15 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds, before repeating a further 2-3 times, increasing the range of the stretch each time. 6. Concentrate on keeping your buttocks firmly on the floor, contracting your quadriceps to help relax the hamstrings.

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Easy-Moderate One Leg Raised 1. Stand one leg-width away from a secure raised platform. 2. Rest the heel of one leg on the platform, or, if using a chair, rest your Achilles on a folded towel. 3. Keeping your raised leg straight, exhale, sliding your hands down the raised leg, and aiming to bring your chest to your knee. 4. You can increase the stretch by bending your supporting leg, taking your buttocks toward the floor, and keeping your pelvis facing forward.

Moderate Foot grab, Extended 1. You can work into this stretch by slowly sliding the heel along the floor. As you feel the tension behind your knee and hamstrings, aim to contract the quadriceps, to relax the opposing muscle. 2. This stretch can be performed with either one or both feet, and also with the aid of a towel wrapped around the ball of your feet, if you’ re unable to straighten the leg while holding onto your feet.

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Moderate Assisted Leg Raise 1. Hold a secure object for balance, and raise one leg, which your partner will hold at the heel and foot, keeping your toes pointing upward. 2. Place your other hand on the raised thigh to help keep that leg straight. The supporting leg should be slightly bent. 3. Exhale slowly while your partner gently raises your leg, making sure that you communicate together. 4. Contract your quadriceps to help relax your hamstrings, and increase the stretch. 5. Develop the stretch by relaxing for a few seconds before repeating 2-3 times.

Moderate Heel Against Wall 1. Lie on your back, either in a doorway, or at the corner of a wall, keeping both buttocks in front of the wall line. 2. Rest both hands down by your sides, with the leg furthest from the wall extended straight, and the heel of the other foot resting raised up against the wall. 3. Slowly contract the quadriceps of the raised foot, bringing both hips forward toward the wall line, and aiming to bring the raised foot closer toward your head, keeping the leg straight.

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Moderate Partner Pull 2 1. Sit on the floor facing your partner. 2. Bend one leg so that your foot rests on the inside of your thigh while your other leg is straight, resting against the upper shin of your partner’s leg, as they adopt the same position. 3. While grasping each other ’s wrists, communicate with each other, as you exhale and bend forward, as your partner leans back, aiming to bring your chest down to the knee of the extended leg. 4. Perform the stretch using a controlled movement, keeping your feet, legs, and buttocks in contact with the floor.

Moderate-Hard Head to Knee 1. Sit on the floor with both legs apart. 2. Keep one leg straight, foot pointing upward, and the other leg bend, foot firmly on the floor. 3. Grasp each leg with one hand, in order to fix the leg position. 4. Exhale slowly, aiming to rest your head on the knee of the straight leg.

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Moderate-Hard Seated Chest to Quads (Partner Assisted) 1. Sit on the floor with one leg straight, toes pointing upward, and the other leg is bent, either behind (hurdle position), or resting against the opposite inner thigh. 2. Exhale, extending both hands toward the upright foot on the straight leg. 3. Communicate with your partner as they aid you with the stretch by applying pressure to your upper back.

Moderate-Hard Toe Grab 1. Stand with feet and knees together, keeping your legs straight. 2. Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, taking both hands toward your feet. 3. Progress this stretch by pulling up on your toes while extending your buttocks upward.

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Hard Right Angle Legs 1. Sit on the floor, extending one hand out to the side and rear for balance. 2. Use the other hand to grab the heel of one foot of on the same side. 3. Slowly exhale, bringing the leg up toward your shoulder. 4. Aim to keep the leg straight, throughout the stretch, and avoid letting it go out to the side or across your body.

Hard Head to Knee 1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight to the front, feet pointing upward, knees and ankles together. 2. Exhale, grasping your ankles with both hands, and gently pull your head down toward your knees. Wrap a towel around your feet if you are unable to reach your ankles.

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Hard Leg Straighten 1. Place one foot half a stride in front of you, keeping both feet facing forward, shouldwidth apart, legs straight. 2. Exhale, slowly lowering both of your hands toward the floor of your front leg. 3. Avoid bouncing during the stretch. Aim to contract the quadriceps, to help relax the hamstring muscles.

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The neck or cervical muscles originate from the upper borders of the Scapula (shoulder blade), the Clavicle (collar bone) and the upper part of the spine, (thoracic and lower to mid cervical). The muscles insert on the cervical spine either on the lateral border or the main posterior spinous processes or on the base of the skull. Movement is dictated by the location of the muscles and will include flexion, extension, rotation and side-bending. Normal movement of the head will involve a combination of these movements. Easy Head Drop-Weight Assisted 1. Stand or sit on the edge of a chair, holding a light weight in both hands, keeping your arms straight, either to the front or side of your hips. 2. Slowly exhale, aiming to lower your chin to your chest, and your shoulders to the floor. 3. Avoid excessive leaning forward, keep your back straight throughout.

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Easy Chin to Chest Front 1. Place both hands at the rear of your head, fingers interlocked, thumbs pointing down, elbows point straight ahead. 2. Slowly exhale, pulling your head downward, aiming for your chin to touch your chest. 3. Concentrate on keeping your back straight, with your shoulders down and back. 4. Relax your hands, and inhale as you lift your head.

Easy Neck to Side 1. Sit or stand placing one hand over the top of your head, grasping above the ear. 2. Exhale slowly pull the opposite ear gradually towards your shoulder.

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Easy Dumb-Bell Lateral Stretch 1. Stand holding a light weight in one hand. 2. Exhale slowly, allowing your head to drop down toward the shoulder of the weighted arm, and feeling the stretch on the free hand side of your neck. 3. Progress this stretch by using your free hand to slowly pull your head down toward the shoulder of your free hand, feeling the stretch on the weighted side.

Easy-Moderate Head Drop 1. Rest on a raised platform on your back, with your head and neck extended over the edge. 2. Exhale, lowering your head down slowly toward the floor, keeping your shoulders in contact with the platform. 3. Inhale, slowly lifting your head upward, after your stretch.

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Easy-Moderate Partner Head Raise 1. Lie on the floor while your partner lightly holds your head either side of your ears. 2. Communicate with your partner as you slowly exhale, they will gently lift your head, aiming to take your chin to your chest. 3. Relax back down, controlling the movement, and keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor at all times. 4. This stretch can also be performed on a raised platform, with the head hanging over the edge, in order to stretch the front of the neck.

Easy-Moderate Lying Neck Pull 1. Lie on your back, with both legs bent, feet firmly flat on the floor. 2. Grasp the back of your head with your fingers, resting your palms on the top of your head. 3. Exhale, slowly pulling your chin down toward your chest, and aiming to keep your upper back in contact with the floor.

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Moderate Hard Head Roll 1. Kneel on all fours, placing your forearms on the floor, with your head resting on its crown between your elbows. 2. Slowly and gently roll your shoulders forward as your chin comes closer to your chest.

Hard Feet Above Head 1. Begin the stretch with both feet together, pointing upward with a straight body and legs. 2. Fix this position by keeping your elbows and upper arm on the floor, and both hands wrapped around your sides and lower back. 3. Keep the back of your head and shoulders on the floor. 4. Progress this stretch by exhaling and slowly taking both feet over your head toward the floor.

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This group of muscles include Rectus femoris and Vastus medialis, lateralis and intermedius. The muscles originate from either the anterior crest (side) of the hip, the hip joint and the upper part of the Femur, and insert together just below the knee joint on the front of the Tibia. The patella or knee cap is embedded in the shared Quadriceps tendon. Their action is both flexion of the hip and extension of the knee. Easy Stretch Lying 1. Lie on your side, aiming to keep both the knees and the inside of your thighs together. 2. Extend the lower leg out straight, keeping the top leg bent, and one hand grasping the foot. 3. Exhale, pulling the foot toward your buttock while you slowly push your pelvis forward. 4. Use a towel wrapped around your foot if you can't reach your foot comfortably.

Easy Quadriceps Standing 1. Stand holding onto a secure object, or have one hand raised out to the side for balance. 2. Raise one heel up toward your buttocks, and grasp hold of your foot, with one hand. 3. Inhale, slowly pulling your heel to your buttock while gradually pushing your pelvis forward. 4. Aim to keep both knees together, having a slight bend in the supporting leg.

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Easy Opposite Hand to Foot 1. Repeat using the same standing position as above. 2. Grasp one foot with the opposite hand at the lower portion of the foot. 3. Exhale and extend your pelvis forward, whilst allowing the bent leg to turn naturally around.

Easy Quadriceps Lying Face Down 1. Throughout the stretch, concentrate on keeping your knees together. Avoid twisting the pelvis. Keeping your forehead on the floor prevents arching of the lower back. 2. Gradually pull your heel into your buttock. Variations: Use the opposite arm to leg before being stretched.

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Easy Quadriceps PNF (partner) 1. Lie on your front, with your head and elbows resting on the floor. 2. Bend one leg, which your partner will hold, placing one hand above the ankle joint, and the other hand on the sole of the raised foot. 3. Communicate with your partner as they repeatedly push your heel toward your buttocks in small movements, aiming to take and rest the heel on the buttock. 4. You can also stretch the calf muscle by pushing down on the foot during the stretch.

Moderate One Leg Elevated Rear 1. Rest one foot behind you on a secure raised platform. 2. Extend your front leg one small stride forward, keeping the knee in line with your toes. 3. Inhale, slowly lowering yourself to the floor, aiming to keep your back straight. 4. Hold onto a secure object if you have poor balance.

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Moderate Hurdle 1. Sit on the floor, extending one leg slightly bent out to your front, and keeping the other leg bent, with the toes pointing backward, and the foot held close to the hip. 2. Exhale, lowering your back slowly to the floor, and keeping your foot tucked in close to your hip. 3. Increase the stretch by contracting your buttocks while pushing the hips upward. Moderate Heel to Buttock 1. Rest one knee on the floor, grasping the foot with your hand from the same side. 2. Extend the other foot and hand out to the front, placing both down firmly for balance. 3. Aim to keep your ankle, knee, and hip joint aligned while you slowly pull your heel toward your buttock.

Hard Lean Back 1. Kneel, sitting back on your feet, toes pointing backward, using your hands to fix your feet in place. 2. Exhale slowly while you gradually lower your back to the floor. 3. Concentrate on keeping your knees and lower leg in contact with the floor.

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The muscles associated with the shoulder movement are Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres major and minor, and the Deltoid. These muscles originate from part of the Scapula or shoulder blade and insert on the upper part of the arm (Humerus). Balanced tension of this group of muscles protects and stabilizes the shoulder joint. The main movements performed include abduction of the arm and external rotation, although some lower fibres of the Deltoid muscle attached anteriorly to the clavicle, can act as an adductor of the arm. Easy Shoulder Strangle 1. Cross one arm horizontally over your chest, grasping it with either your hand or forearm, just above the elbow joint. 2. Exhale, slowly pulling your upper arm in toward your chest. 3. Aim to keep the hips and shoulders facing forward throughout the stretch.

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Easy Upward Stretch 1. Extend both hands straight above your head, palms touching. 2. Inhale, slowly pushing your hands upward, then backward, keeping your back straight. 3. Exhale and relaxing from the stretch before you repeat.

Easy-Moderate Arm Arrest 1. Extend both arms behind your back, grasping one of your elbows. 2. Exhale, slowly pulling the grasped elbow toward your spine. 3. Hold your wrist if you are unable to reach your elbow. 4. Dropping your head down toward your shoulder will also stretch your neck.

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Easy-Moderate Partner Shoulder Pull 1. Stand with both your hands grasped behind you by your partner, keeping your arms straight. 2. Communicate with your partner, as you slowly lower yourself by bending your legs while your partner applies upward pressure on your arms. 3. Relax from the stretch by standing upright, and then repeat, aiming to go further down in order to develop the stretch.

Easy-moderate Broom Handle 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a bar or large towel, with your palms facing down, both hands wide. 2. Inhale, slowly aim to take both arms behind your head, resting your hands either side of your hips, palms facing behind. 3. You may find that one arm needs to bend as you twist to the side in order to perform this stretch, concentrate on avoiding this, simply work within your limits.

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Moderate Shoulder Arm Arrest 1. Stand with one arm behind your back, palm facing outward. 2. Your partner will grasp your wrist with one hand, while the other is pressed against the shoulder blade of the bent arm. 3. Communicate with your partner as they slowly pull your bent arm upward, aiming to take your hand toward the opposite shoulder.

Moderate Reverse Pray 1. Sit or stand with both hands behind your back, palms together, with fingers pointing upward. 2. Your partner will hold both your arms on the outside of the elbow. 3. Communicate with your partner as they slowly pull back on your elbows, keeping your palms and fingers together.

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Moderate Hand Lock With Forearms 1. Cross both arms straight out in front of you. 2. Bend the lower arm up and over the upper arm, aiming to grasp the upper palm with the fingers of your lower arm. 3. Exhale, slowly turning your forearms and wrists, so that your thumbs are facing you. 4. Increase the stretch by lowering both elbows.

Moderate Shoulders-Swiss Ball 1. Lie on a Swiss ball or a bench, with arms straight above your head, holding a light weight to increase the stretch. 2. Inhale, slowly lowering your arms, either side of your head, keeping the arms straight. 3. Hold the stretch in the downward phase, breathing comfortably throughout, gradually lowering the weight toward the floor.

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Moderate Backward Prayer 1. Stand or site with both arms behind your back, placing the tips of your thumbs and fingers together, pointing upward. 2. Inhale, slowly pushing your palms together.

Moderate-Hard Reverse Press-Up 1. Sit on the floor, with your feet extended straight out in front of you. 2. Your hands should be behind you, palms flat on the floor, fingers pointing out to the sides, in line with your shoulders during the upward phase. 3. Inhale, lifting your buttocks off the floor, taking your head back, resting only on your hands and heels. 4. Raise your head prior to lowering yourself back down, making sure you control the movement.

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These muscle groups include the muscles that flex and extend both the fingers and wrists or perform rotational movements of the forearm as in pronation and supination. They originate just above the elbow with the extensors originating on the lateral epicondyle of the Humerus and the flexors on the medial epicondyle. The insertion areas include most of the fingers and the thumb or the lower part of the forearm. Easy Hands Interlocked Over Head 1. Interlock your fingers above your head, palms facing upward. 2. Exhale and push your hands further above your head. 3. You will also feel this stretch in your shoulders.

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Easy Hands to Hands 1. Place both palms and fingers together, keeping your elbows high. 2. Exhale and push hands hard together. Your fingers should slowly part with only your palms and fingertips touching.

Easy Palm Finger Push 1. Rest the fingers of one hand on the palm of the opposite hand. 2. Exhale and slowly push the lower fingers into your palm whilst pulling the lower palm back and upwards. 3. Repeat again on the opposite side.

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Moderate Forearms 1. Kneel on all fours, using a combination of hand positions to stretch the many different muscles in the wrist and forearms. 2. Gently ease into the stretch by pushing your shoulders either back or forward. 3. Variations of this stretch are to point the fingers, outward, inward, or forward.

Moderate Wrist Bar 1. Hold a bar or broomstick, with your palms facing upward, fingers wrapped around the bar, thumbs pointing away from the body. 2. Exhale, slowly lifting the bar by bending the arms while keeping the wrists in contact with the bar. 3. Can be performed in a narrow, normal, or wide grip.

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Perform this sequence of stretches only after you have warmed up the muscles, remember that your warm-up is the key to unlocking tight muscles, which is the cause of injury. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds, breathing comfortably throughout. Easy Calf Correct Foot Position Foot alignment should be shoulder width apart, you can confirm this by standing either side of a straight line on the floor. When you take your rear foot back, it should not cross or move away from the midline, your foot should be pointing forward with your heel either flat on the floor, or raised if aiming to develop the stretch. Your front leg should bend so that when you look down over your knee, you can see the tip of your toes. Lean forward aiming to keep a straight line with your heel, hip and head.

Easy Soleus (Calf) 1. Stand with both feet flat on the floor, pointing forward, half a stride apart. 2. Keeping your back straight, with your hands on your hips, exhale and lower yourself down, resting your bodyweight on the rear foot. 3. Because your stretching a muscle that is deep inside the leg, most people will find that they actually feel no significant stretch when doing this movement. 4. Focus on lowering down in a vertical action.

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Easy Normal Hamstring Stretch 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, one foot extended half a step forward. 2. Keeping the front leg straight, bend your rear leg, resting both hands on the bent thigh. 3. Slowly exhale, aiming to tilt both buttocks upward, keeping the front leg straight, and both feet flat on the floor, pointing forward. 4. Inhale slowly, and relax from the stretch. Repeat the stretch again, this time beginning with the toes of the front foot raised toward the ceiling, but keeping the heel on the floor.

Easy Quadriceps Standing 1. Stand holding onto a secure object, or have one hand raised out to the side for balance. 2. Raise one heel up toward your buttocks, and grasp hold of your foot, with one hand. 3. Inhale, slowly pulling your heel to your buttock while gradually pushing your pelvis forward. 4. Aim to keep both knees together, having a slight bend in the supporting leg.

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Easy Side Lunge (Adductor) 1. Stand upright, with both feet facing forward, double shoulder-width apart. 2. Place your hands on your hips, in order to keep your back straight, slowly exhale, taking your bodyweight across to one side. 3. Avoid leaning forward, or taking the knee of the bent leg over your toes. As you increase the stretch, the foot of the bent leg should point slightly outward. 4. To increase the stretch, relax upward, slowly sliding your feet out a few inches to the sides.

Moderate Leg Over (Glutes / Buttocks) 1. Lie on your back, extending your left arm out to the side, while taking your left leg over your right, bringing the knee inline with the hips. 2. Keeping your right leg straight, use your right arm to push down on the knee of the left leg, exhaling slowly as you stretch.

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Easy Fetal Position (Back) 1. Lie on your back, keeping your head on the floor. 2. Slowly pull both legs into your chest, and secure them there by wrapping your arms around the back of your knees. 3. Exhale, pulling down on your legs while gradually lifting your buttocks off the floor. 4. You can stretch your neck, once in this position, by slowly tilting your chin to your chest.

Easy Spine Curve (Abdominals) 1. Begin the stretch by laying on your front, with your hands close to your chest, fingers pointing upward. 2. Exhale, pushing yourself up with your arms and contracting your buttocks while keeping both feet firmly on the floor. 3. Look up toward the ceiling, to also feel the stretch in your neck.

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Easy Bar Twist 1. Stand with both feet facing forward, double shoulder-width apart, with legs slightly bent. 2. Use the bar to keep your upper body straight, with elbows high, as you slowly twist around in both directions. 3. Avoid moving at speed, or forcing the stretch.

Easy Lower Back-Cat Stretch 1. Adopt a position on all fours, point your fingers forward and your toes behind. 2.Start with a flat back, and then drop your head downward, pushing your shoulder blades upward and outward as you elevate your upper back.

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Easy Elbows Back (Chest) 1. Stand or sit up right, keeping your back straight, head looking forward. 2. Place both hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downward, elbows out to your side. 3. Exhale slowly while gently pulling the elbows back, aiming to get them to touch.

Easy Shoulder Strangle 1. Cross one arm horizontally over your chest, grasping it with either your hand or forearm, just above the elbow joint. 2. Exhale, slowly pulling your upper arm in toward your chest. 3. Aim to keep the hips and shoulders facing forward throughout the stretch.

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Easy Bicep-Wall Stretch 1. Place the palm, inner elbow, and shoulder of one arm against the wall. 2. Keeping the arm in contact with the wall, exhale and slowly turn your body around, to feel the stretch in your biceps and chest. 3. Adjust the hand position either higher or lower and repeat to stretch the multiple biceps and chest muscles.

Easy-Moderate Hand Down Spine (Triceps)

1. Extend one hand down the center of your back, fingers pointing downward. 2. Use the other hand to grasp the elbow. 3. Exhale slowly, pulling gently downward on your elbow, aiming to take your fingers along your spine.

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Easy Upward Stretch (Wrist and Forearms) 1. Extend both hands straight above your head, palms touching. 2. Inhale, slowly pushing your hands upward, then backward, keeping your back straight. 3. Exhale and relaxing from the stretch before you repeat.

Easy Chin to Chest Front (Neck) 1. Place both hands at the rear of your head, fingers interlocked, thumbs pointing down, elbows point straight ahead. 2. Slowly exhale, pulling your head downward, aiming for your chin to touch your chest. 3. Concentrate on keeping your back straight, with your shoulders down and back. 4. Relax your hands, and inhale as you lift your head.

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Once you have finished any form of physical activity, you should gradually allow your heart rate and breathing to lower to a comfortable level, where talking can be performed with ease. Light aerobic exercise such as walking or easy indoor cycling are good, as both of these will allow you to hydrate yourself and also put on warm clothing. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds, breathing comfortable throughout. If specific areas are still tight, then repeat the stretch, or look for other suitable stretches within the muscle group. Easy Calf Raise Down 1. Stand on a raised platform, on the balls of your feet, holding onto a secure object for balance. 2. Exhale, slowly dropping your heels down towards the floor and allowing your toes to raise naturally. 3. A step on the stairs makes a great place to perform this stretch. This movement can be performed using either one or both feet.

Easy Lying Straight, Leg to Chest (Hamstring) 1. Lie comfortably on your back, concentrating on keeping both your head and buttocks in contact with the floor. 2. Slowly extend one leg upward, grasping it with both hands, either around the calf, the hamstrings, or a combination of both. 3. Aim to pull your leg toward your chest, keeping it straight. When the tension builds up in your hamstrings, relax the stretch a little by contracting your quadriceps on the same leg. 4. If necessary, use a towel wrapped around your foot, in order to keep your head on the floor. 104


Easy Stretch Lying (Quadriceps - Thighs) 1. Lie on your side, aiming to keep both the knees and the inside of your thighs together. 2. Extend the lower leg out straight, keeping the top leg bent, and one hand grasping the foot. 3. Exhale, pulling the foot toward your buttock while you slowly push your pelvis forward. 4. Use a towel wrapped around your foot if you can't reach your foot comfortably.

Easy Toe Grab (Adductors - Inner Thigh) 1. Begin this stretch with your heels together, holding both feet with your hands. 2. Lean forward from your hips, gradually increasing the stretch by bringing your heels closer to your groin, and your chest closer to your feet. 3. Make the movements small and controlled. Avoid bouncing and excessive upward pressure on your feet.

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Moderate One Leg Over (Glutes - Buttocks) 1. Sit on the floor, with one leg straight, toes pointing upward. 2. Cross the other foot over the knee of the straight leg, aiming to place that foot flat on the floor. 3. Place the elbow and forearm of the opposite arm of the bent leg on the outside of the bent knee. 4. Exhale, slowly pulling the bent knee across your body.

Moderate Looking at Ceiling (Abdominals) 1. Begin the stretch by kneeling on the floor, holding your heels with both hands. 2. Slowly exhale, lifting your buttocks up and forward while taking the head backward, in order to arch the back.

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Easy-Moderate Lying Trunk Twists (Obliques) 1. Lie flat on your back, with both hands extended straight out to your sides. 2. Slide both legs up towards one arm, aiming to keep the knees together, whilst allowing your lower body to naturally twist around. 3. Can be performed with either bent or straight legs.

Easy Leg Grab (Upper Back) 1. While seated, exhale, bending forward, and hugging your thighs underneath with both arms. 2. Keep your feet extended out as you pull your chest down onto your thighs, keeping both knees together. 3. While in this position, you can also stretch your rhomboids, by aiming to pull your upper back away from you knees while still grasping your legs.

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Moderate One Arm Against the Wall (Chest) 1. Place your forearm and biceps against a wall, keeping the arm at right angles. 2. Exhale, slowly turning your opposite shoulder backward, keeping the other arm firmly in contact with the wall. 3. Repeat this stretch both raising and lowering the walled arm, in order to work the different pectoral muscles.

Moderate Prayer (Upper Back) 1. From a kneeling position, extend both hands out, fingers pointing forward. 2. Use your hands and forearms to grip the floor, as you gently ease your buttocks backward, until you feel the stretch in your upper back and shoulders. 3. Exhale, gently easing your chest down toward the floor.

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Easy Bicep-Wall Stretch 1. Place the palm, inner elbow, and shoulder of one arm against the wall. 2. Keeping the arm in contact with the wall, exhale and slowly turn your body around, to feel the stretch in your biceps and pectoral muscles. 3. Adjust the hand position either higher or lower and repeat to stretch the multiple biceps and chest muscles.

Easy-Moderate Hand Down Spine (Triceps) 1. Extend one hand down the center of your back, fingers pointing downward. 2. Use the other hand to grasp the elbow. 3. Exhale slowly, pulling gently downward on your elbow, aiming to take your fingers along your spine.

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Easy Hands Interlocked Over Head (Forearms and Wrists) 1. Interlock your fingers above your head, palms facing upward. 2. Exhale and push your hands further above your head. 3. You will also feel this stretch in your shoulders.

Easy-Moderate Lying Pull (Neck) 1. Lie on your back, with both legs bent, feet firmly flat on the floor. 2. Grasp the back of your head with your fingers, resting your palms on the top of your head. 3. Exhale, slowly pulling your chin down toward your chest, and aiming to keep your upper back in contact with the floor.

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Dynamic stretching involves a series of gently progressive controlled movements that are designed to warm up your body before embarking on a exercise routine. The emphasis is on gradually increasing the speed and range of movements, by actively putting your muscles through and joints through their normal movements. Back Stroke Stand upright with your feet wide, both feet facing forward. Begin by taking one hand at a time, up over your head, in a complete circle, bringing the hand close to your hip during the downward phase. Gradually build the speed up, aiming to keep the arms straight throughout, fingers pointed. Progress by taking both arms back at the same time, realizing that the arms will move away from your hips during the downward phase. Work for 1 - 3 minutes.

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Breaststroke Stand with legs shoulder width apart, bending forward at the hips, with your head looking down in front of you. Perform small breaststroke movements, aiming to keep your elbows high, prior to extending your arms out in large smooth movements.

Front Crawl Stand with feet shoulder width apart, leaning forward from the waist, looking down in front off you. Keeping your arms bent, extend your hands forward to your midline, and then pull them back either side of your hips. Concentrate on keeping the movements small at first, gradually building up the range of extension and also the speed whilst always under control. Avoid rolling your head, and implementing any correct swimming techniques. Work for 1 minute.

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Calf and Arms - B Your aim on this movement is to stretch the calf, hamstrings, chest and upper back. Start in a standing calf stretch, with both hands pointing out directly in front of you. Keeping your feet firmly on the floor, extend your elbows back, whilst moving into a standing hamstring stretch. Perform the movement 10 - 20 times on each leg, gradually increasing the range of movement.

Chest and Quads B Jog either on the spot, or forward, bringing each heel alternately up towards your buttocks. As your heels come up, take your arms across your chest, then out to the side, opening up your chest. Perform the movement 10- 20 times on each leg, gradually increasing the range of movement.

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Chest Opener Arms Diagonally Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with both arms straight, one hand slightly higher than your head, whilst the other diagonally positioned, with that hand at hip height. Extend both hands forward and back a few inches under control, adjusting the position of your hands, either palms facing down, forward or upwards. Repeat this movement 10 times on each side, then progress by taking both arms across the body-line, finishing with the upper hand taken across then back down to your hip line. Breathe deeply throughout the motion, exhaling as you take your hands back in order to stretch your chest and biceps muscles. Work this action for 1 - 3 minutes.

Chest Opener Stand with your feet pointing forward, double shoulder width apart, elbows at shoulder height, with your forearms parallel with the floor. Extend the elbows back in two smooth movements, and then take the arms back behind you, keeping them straight and at shoulder height. Concentrate on counting one second for each movement. Look at performing 10 - 20 repetitions, turning your palms both inward and outward to work different muscles of the chest.

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Double Jab A number of punching actions can be performed, either using single or double punch movements, whilst standing or seated. Avoiding any twisting at the waist, begin with small movements; gradually increase both the speed and range of the movements, all of which need to be under control. The uppercuts should be done using single arms, bending forward at the waist, taking your elbows back alternately, as you bring your hands in front of your chest. Avoid letting your elbows extend forward of your waist.

Football This action can be performed on the spot or jogging slowly forward. Begin with a high knee lift, pumping the hands high, as in a sprinting action. Keeping one leg straight with your foot firmly on the floor, take the other leg out to your side, then back down towards your foot, aiming to keep the knee high throughout the movement. If performed out on the spot, simply alternate the movement to the opposite leg. Whilst jogging forward, alternate the leg to be stretched every 3rd or 5th stride, keeping the movement slow and under control for 2 - 4 minutes.

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Foot Raise and Heel Raise Stand on the spot, lifting each heel alternately off the floor, placing all you weight on your toes. Increase the lift gradually, whilst holding longer in each upright movement, aiming for two seconds. This action can be performed seated by applying pressure down on your knees with your hands. Progress to a slow walk forward taking small steps placing your heel down first, whilst keeping your toes pointing upwards. Contract your quadriceps as you keep the toes pointing upwards. Take one step every 3 - 5 seconds, spending 1 -3 minutes on each movement.

Lying Trunk Twists Lie on your back, placing your hands out to your sides for stability, with both feet raised above your hips, legs straight feet together. Keeping your legs inline with your hips, twist both feet from one side to the other, with straight legs, gradually increasing the movement, one full twist every 3 seconds. Aim for 10 - 20 movements each side, with your back fixed too the floor.

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Press-Ups Adopt a comfortable press-up position, either on your knees or your toes. Perform 2 - 3 repetitions of each style of press-up to work different muscle groups of your back, chest and arms.

Rear Raise Stand on one leg, keeping that leg slightly bent, with your foot pointing forward. Extend the other leg straight back, whilst you lean forward, extending both arms out straight to head height. Bring your legs and arms back in together, taking your hands to your side, whilst taking the rear leg forward, bringing the knee high. Perform this movement 10 - 20 times each side.

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Side Bend Stand with your feet pointing forward, double shoulder width apart. Slide one hand down towards the knee of the same side, taking your other hand over your head, keeping your arm straight. Repeat the movement on the other side, aiming for 10 bends each side in 30 seconds.

Side Raise Raise both arms out to your sides, at shoulder height, whilst extending one leg straight out to your side, gradually increasing the movement of the leg. Lower both your arms and leg back down under control, then repeat on the other side. Perform the movement 10 - 20 times each side.

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Soleus and Hamstring Stand in the position for a normal hamstring stretch, with your front foot raised, both arms bent at the elbow, with your hands close to your shoulders. Lower your front foot and arms, whilst bending both legs in order to adopt a soleus calf stretch position. Repeat the movement 10 -20 times each leg, at a rate of one lower and raise every 3 seconds.

Sprint Work on the spot or whilst taking small steps forward, over exaggerate your sprinting action, raising one knee high off the floor pointing the foot downwards. Keep the other leg straight, coming up off your toes, driving the arm of that side up to head height, slightly forward of your body's centerline. The fingers of both hands should be spread, with your other arm extended straight back behind you. You can work one leg at a time, or simply alternate aiming to gradually build up both the speed and range for each action.

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Side Bend Arms Parallel to Floor Stand with both feet facing forward, double shoulder width apart, one hand bent across your chest, elbow pointing forward, whilst the other is extended straight out to your side. Bend the knee forward on the extended arm side, keeping the other leg straight, transferring your body weight to the bent leg side. Transfer your bodyweight to your opposite side by straightening your bent leg as you bend your straight leg. At the same time, swing the arms around to help transfer your weight. Keep your back straight throughout, repeating 20 - 40 times in 30 - 60 seconds. Trunk Rotation Stand with both feet double shoulder width apart, both feet facing forward, hands at shoulder height, one bent with the elbow pointing forward, and the other out to your side, turning your head to look down your arms. Rotate from your waist, keeping your back straight, and aiming to keep your pelvis forward, and you gently extend the arms back from side to side. Keep your back straight throughout, repeating 20 - 40 times in 30 - 60 seconds.

Squat Thrusts

Place both hands flat on the floor, under your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward. Staying on your toes, with your back parallel to the floor, extend one leg straight back, whilst the other is brought up towards your chest. Alternate the legs, 5 -15 slow movements.

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Used to gain speed in footwork, lay out a rope ladder, or chalk out an area with approximately 15-inch squares. Combining ladders so that you go both forward and side ward's, will give you rapid results. The numbers indicate the order to run in. = Left foot

= Right foot

Single leg run; aim to run on the ball of your foot, without catching the rope or chalk lines. 2

4

1

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Double leg run; aim to run at speed through the rope ladder, pumping with your arms. 1

3

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Double side step, run through the ladder in a sideways direction, with either double or single leg.

Â

1

2

3

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5

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9

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Ickey Shuffle, As with the double run, but this time every third step comes outside the rope.

6

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1

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18 14 13

16 17

15

By performing these drills in both directions, you will soon realize that you are better on one side than the other. Aim to work on your weaker side for greater improvements in your game.

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The most important aspect of your stretching routine, regardless of your chosen sport, is the your warm-up. You can not stretch your muscles for the vigorous demands that your body will go through if your muscles are cold. The following stretching programs have been designed to give you simple ideas as to implement warm-up techniques into your workout, and also to advise areas that are often associated with injury, which if you're wise, you will spend more time stretching.

American Football is obviously a physical contact sport, resulting in 150,000 injuries to those aged below 15 in the US alone. Sprains and strains are the most frequent injuries amongst players of all age groups. For young children, injuries to the arms, hands, and shoulders are most common; older players most often injure the lower extremities, especially the knees. Correct clothing and playing surface will obviously help reduce these injuries. Because of the nature of the game, players may spend time seated for long periods, before literally throwing their bodies at maximum effort into their opponents. The warm-up phase should be sufficient to warm and mobilize all of the joints and muscles prior to stretching, but more importantly it should be continued throughout the game to keep the body prepared for high levels of physical exertion. Utilize the sidelines throughout the game and spend at least 2 minutes in every 10 jogging lightly up and down performing foot and hand drills with other players, even if you're not sure if you're going to be playing. Keep your body warm and hydrated whilst waiting to go onto the pitch, and aim to stretch whenever there is time to do so. The stretches you perform after your warm-up should be initially static and then dynamic to mimic the movements about to be performed. Use the warm-up stretches then include these sports specific stretches.

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Hold each stretch for 20 - 30 seconds, after every third stretch, spend 30 seconds running or skipping to keep the heart rate up to allow the body to stay warm. Use the dynamic stretching routine and foot drills only after the static stretch. Prior to going on to the field, perform 5 push-ups and then 10 alternate leg squat thrusts, at 100% effort. Your cool down should consist of drying any sweat away with a towel, and putting on warm clothing to prevent a chill. Follow this by performing the cool down static stretches again for 30 seconds, however after 15 seconds relax the stretch and aim to take the stretch further (developmental). After every fourth stretch, walk around for 30 seconds, shaking the arms and legs under control to help prevent blood pooling resulting in dizziness. Also if possible perform the PNF stretches for the hamstrings and quadriceps. Any injuries, regardless of how trivial should be treated at the earliest opportunity, likewise regular sports massage will help breakdown scarred tissue from heavy contact.

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The many different disciplines associated with athletics all have the same causes for injury. Poor technique - whatever level you compete at, improvements can always be made in your technique. Being a member of a club, or have a qualified experienced coach give you advice, is invaluable, in preventing injuries and increasing your performance. Over-training / exertion - during the summer racing months, competitors may be training 3-4 times a week, plus competing at least once a week. Vary your training sessions to avoid training sore muscles. Always understand your current limitations / fitness level, pushing your body beyond what it can do, can have serious negative effects, increase your performance gradually and positively. Inappropriate clothing - wear the correct clothing for your specific event, with the multitude of events, comes a vast array of footwear and protective clothing, all designed to increase performance and injury prevention. Weather and track conditions - performing surfaces when wet become slippery, keep yourself, performing surface and equipment dry. During cold conditions, your muscles will take longer to warm-up, and are more susceptible to injury, spend sufficient time to warm-up correctly, and once warm stay warm with appropriate clothing and continual stretching/exercise, especially during throwing / jumping events. Warm humid conditions cause greater fluid loss, remain hydrated throughout with suitable sports drink / water. Tartan rubber surfaces provide good cushioning compared to tarmac and cinder surfaces. All surfaces can have worn, damaged or slippery areas, often near long jump sandpits, or in shaded areas where mould or surface water can remain on the track. Aim to practice your runs in the second or third lanes, to protect the track surface. All track and field events require a thorough warm-up and stretching routine suited to the muscle groups used and exertion placed upon the body. Long and Triple Jump: The knees and ankles undergo excessive strain during the take off phase, especially in triple jump, and as such the muscles around these joints need to be both strong and flexible. Aim to keep the sandpit, well raked and full of soft dry sand to cushion the landing impact. Warm-up by light jogging or skipping for 10 minutes prior to carrying out the warm-up stretches, then a further 10 minutes performing all the dynamic movements. Perform the following stretches prior to going on the long jump runway to measure out your run-up.

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Stay warm with suitable clothing, continue the dynamic movements and also leg mobility exercises between your jumps. Cool down by a light jog for 5 minutes to revitalize the muscles and increase blood flow, prior to performing the cool down stretches. High jump and Pole-Vault: Requiring high levels of flexibility and technically very demanding both of these events should be coached and supervised. Implementing regular stretching and mobility exercises can reduce injuries from muscular strain, especially in the lower back. Begin your warm-up with the mobility exercises, prior to light jogging to circulate blood flow, minimum 10 minutes, followed by the warm-up stretches. Perform all of the dynamic movements. High jumpers should aim to carry out vertical knee lifts, gradually increasing height from their jumping leg, whilst vaulters should be making suitable adjustments to both run-ups and pole suitability by practicing at a reduced intensity on the pole vault run way. Its important to stay focused throughout, think about your technique, drink a suitable sports drink, stay warm between your performances and continue to stretch and stay mobile.

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All landing cushions should be firm and of sufficient size to protect landings from various methods of take-off. Inform Marshals if you have a tendency to land close to the edge of the cushions, so they can be moved to your appropriate landing point. Cool down by a light jog for 5 minutes to revitalize the muscles and increase blood flow, prior to performing the cool down stretches. Running 800 meters up: Injuries to middle distance runners are reducing due to improvements in footwear, with lower leg injuries common place from over-training (shin splints). The stresses placed on the body are different as the race distance increases, with aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels being important, especially in the later stages of a race. Sufficient time should be spent preparing for your run, to enable you to race at an optimum level. Light jogging for at least 15-20 minutes should be carried out after the mobility exercises, followed by the warm-up stretches.

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Keep your muscles warm by continually light jogging, performing the dynamic movements, wearing suitable clothing, staying hydrated with a sports drink, especially for longer runs. Cool down with light jogging for 10 minutes, followed by the cool down stretches any areas that feel tight, use different stretches within the stretches section to elevate the tension. Sprinting and Hurdles: Due to the explosive nature, muscular strains are common place in sprinting and hurdling events, which is why it is essential to spend sufficient time warming all the muscle groups. Keep them both passive and actively warm throughout, what can be a long day, especially if competing in numerous sprint heats, finals and relays. Begin your warm-up with light jogging, wearing warm clothing to help increase body temperature for at least 10 minutes. Perform all the mobility exercises, and the warm-up stretches prior to the dynamic movements. Perform these sprint / hurdle specific stretches both before and after you run.

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Once fully warm, practice your running technique aiming to focus on your movements (knee lift / stride length) rather than speed, then practice your starts at a reduced intensity, gradually increasing your power efforts, in order to be fully race prepared both physically and mentally at least 5 minutes prior to your race. Begin your cool down immediately after your race, wearing suitable clothing to keep the muscles warm and supple, carry out the cool down stretches repeat the complete sequence all again if you are racing again. Throwing: Explosive power in the arm and shoulder muscles, combined with rapid twisting from the hips and forceful breaking in your front leg, places tremendous strains on the muscles and joints, especially in the throwing arm, opposite obliques and lower back. Suitable supports are now specially designed for throwing events, however make sure that these fit well and are used in training sessions prior to competition, as they can be restrictive. Your warm-up needs to work all muscle groups, particularly the throwing shoulder. Skipping, indoor rowing machine, or light jogging with imitation arm swimming movements for a minimum of 10 minutes should all be performed after the mobility exercises. Use the warm-up stretches, then continue with the dynamic movements, concentrating on areas that you use during your specific throwing event. Perform the following throwing stretches prior to simulating your throws at a reduced intensity.

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Stay warm and mobile throughout, continuing to stretch and take in both fluid and light sports snacks in order to keep blood sugar levels high, and muscles supple and relaxed. Cool down with 5 minutes light rowing, skipping or jogging with swimming movements, prior to performing the cool down stretches. All athletes will benefit from implementing an extra stretching session into their weekly routines, especially during the competition period, at both the beginning and end of the season.

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Badminton is a sport with rapid actions and unmeasured aerobic activity. It involves approximately 30-40 minutes of lunging, rapid forward and rear movements, high jumping, shuffling, striding and uncontrolled landings, often at full extension with minimal breaks. Common injuries associated with the sport include Tennis Elbow, Achilles Rupture, Repetitive Strain on the wrist and the highest level of eye injuries in all racket sports, so aim to wear some form of eye protection. Avoid the traditional method of warming up, simply walking onto the court and hitting the shuttlecock a few times back and forth. Regardless of your level aim to spend 5 minutes working on your mobility exercises, followed by a further 10 minutes warming up, either with a light jog or ideally a skipping rope before commencing your static warm-up stretches. Dynamic movements under control should follow the static stretching to help prepare you for the game, dependent upon your level, you may also wish to perform the foot drills. Prior to going on to the court look at performing simple lunges to the front, rear and side, ideally 8 each leg in all directions. At any periods of rest aim to keep yourself still moving, even between each point simply lifting and lowering the heel alternatively on each foot will help to relax the muscles of the leg, and thus reduce the risk of injury and allow for greater performance. Use all the static warm-up stretches, and include the following to prepare you for your game.

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Because badminton is often a very sociable game, the cool down normally happens at the club bar. Avoid going from what can be high activity to complete rest, spend a minimum of 5 minutes cooling down, you could even aim to finish the game 5 minutes early, and use the last 5 minutes to practice shots, allowing for the heart rate to come down gradually. Use the cool down stretches and also those above to help prevent muscle soreness and injury. Aim to hold the stretch for 15 seconds, then take a deep breath in, and on the exhale aim to increase the stretch for a further 15 seconds.

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Baseball is a sport with long periods of inactivity, regardless of fielding or batting. Active play generally consists of explosive power in the arm of pitchers and fielders throwing the ball, whilst batting combines trunk and arm rotation with short bursts of sprinting. Injuries tend to come from abrasions, sprains and strains to the ankle and knee, with a high suffering of overuse injuries to the elbows and shoulders especially for pitchers. As you will be playing both a fielding and batting role, cares should be taken to implement these movements into your warm-up phase prior to any stretching. Warm-up gradually with light running and mobility exercises especially for the trunk, arm and shoulders for 15 minutes before performing the warm-up stretches. Simply throwing a ball is not a warm-up for a pitcher, they should spend a minimum of 10 minutes skipping and performing swimming motions with their arms, i.e. front crawl and backstroke before even picking up a ball. Over 50% of pitchers suffer from chronic elbow pain, as a result of overuse and poor warm-up. Simulate the throwing action at a light speed first without a ball, flicking the fingers out at the end of the movement, then progress to throwing a ball soft at first, and then gradually build up the velocity. Fielders have and should take full advantage of the opportunity to stretch and stay mobile whilst on the playing diamond, as the goal for baseball stretching should be continuation, i.e. once warmed and stretch active dynamic stretching should continue throughout the game. The batting team are generally in a dugout, and as such keeping the body warm through activity can be hard, staying warm passively using extra clothing will help keep your muscles supple. Dynamic stretching movements can be performed 5 minutes prior to walking out of the dugout, remember that you will need to use your legs to sprint between bases, so don't skip the stretches for your lower body. SPORTS SPECIFIC STRETCHES FOR FIELDERS

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SPORTS SPECIFIC STRETCHES FOR BATTERS

Prior to stretching at the end of baseball, will require a gradual warm-up again, as the body has been inactive for a while. Light jogging should be carried out for a minimum of 5 minutes, before the static cool down stretches are carried out. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds then take a deep breath in, and on the exhale aim to increase the stretch for a further 15 seconds.

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Basketball is a rapid explosive sport pushing the body to its limits in a combination of horizontal and vertical movements, often at high speed with reduced body control. Successful players will certainly need to look at all areas of fitness in order to be at the pinnacle of the game. A well structured flexibility / stretching program is essential, not only to reduce injury, but also to improve a players ability by allowing a greater range of movement and thus increasing both attacking and defensive capabilities. For a non-contact sport, basketball ranks as the fourth leading cause of injury in organized community sport within the USA. Sprains and strains on the ankle and knee are the most frequent injury, along with the lower back, hand and wrists. Correct footwear, clothing and a safe playing surface will all help reduce injury. The warm-up phase should begin with 5 minutes of mobility exercises to lubricate all the joints before moving on to more active movements such as skipping, dribbling up and down with a ball, and light passing movements, for a further 10 minutes. Stay warm throughout the stretching period with suitable clothing, and then perform the static warm-up stretches, followed by the dynamic movements. After your complete warm-up, perform these sports specific stretches prior to the game.

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Once you have fully stretched, time should be spent on mind-body connection and hand eye drills. This simply means practicing your passing and shooting skills in order to make the central nervous system and your body's proprioception more effective from the start of your game. Throughout a basketball game, players are often substituted and then brought back into the game at literally a minute's notice. For this reason its essential to stay actively warm and where possible continue to practice any shooting, passing or ball handling drills. Sitting watching the match will give your team support, and allow you to watch your oppositions weaknesses, however it is here that you will rapidly cool down and become less effective. Stay active if your forced to take a seat, otherwise use your rest time to correct any mistakes you are making within the game. The cool down and stretch period should be a gradual process to reduce the heart rate steadily. Remove any surface sweat and apply warm clothing before performing all the static cool-down stretches holding the stretch for 15 seconds then take a deep breath in, and on the exhale aim to increase the stretch for a further 15 seconds. PNF stretching with a partner after the game and also regular massage can both help maintain a good range of movement that the game requires.

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Bowling may be looked upon as a gentle sport, but the muscles are placed under strain, especially in 10 pin bowling where the weighted bowl, places extra pressure on the arms, wrist and knee in particular. Time should be given to enable you to warm up efficiently, starting with all of the mobility exercises, paying particular attention to your playing arm. You may feel embarrassed doing an aerobic style warm-up, so aim to perform at least 5 minutes of brisk walking whilst simulating swimming actions with the arms, such as breast stroke and back stroke. Follow this by performing alternate leg lunges, taking the foot to the front side and rear 6 times each leg in slow large movements. Use all the static warm-up stretches, then move on to these sport specific stretches.

Prior to bowling your first bowl, simulate the movement (without a bowl) on your alley to help enable you to get correct foot and hand alignment. Tremendous pressure is placed on your bowling hand and elbow, so investment in proper equipment such as wrist supports and gloves is well recommended. Bowling is often a very sociable game, however before you leave, aim to spend time stretching the muscles you have just worked, paying particular attention to those of the forearm and quadriceps.

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Boxing is one of the most physically demanding sports at all levels, due to the fact that the pace of the fight is often undetermined, you will only get a chance to rest during the minute breaks between rounds. Injuries are more often associated with blows from the opponent, however the biceps and shoulders need to be well maintained, and also good care with the hands and wrists, as these are often damaged in either training or fighting. The warm-up will generally be in two parts, firstly conditioning training, i.e. running and bodywork, and secondly bag work - sparring - drills. Running and conditioning training for serious boxers, normally will take place in the early hours, often when its cold, so aim to keep warm with suitable clothing, spend a minimum of 5 minutes light jogging prior to performing the quick stretch routine once you feel your body is warm. Any bag work or sparring should only be performed when the body is supple and warm, and for this reason an active / passive warm-up combining skipping and warm clothing is best recommended. You will generally begin sweating before commencing the static warm-up stretches, remain warm throughout each stretch with suitable clothing and 1 minutes skipping after every fourth stretch. Combine these stretches with the following sports specific stretches.

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Following your static stretches perform suitable dynamic stretches that mimic the movements associated with boxing, i.e. side bends, front, rear and side lunges and a complete array of upper body movements. Begin any bag work with punches at a closer range and reduced power than normal, slowly building up both power and distance. It's important to take in fluid regularly throughout the warm-up and stretching phase, and also to keep stretching whilst in the workout / sparring period to help maintain a greater range of movement, and thus increase not only your reach, but also your defensive action and reaction times. The cool down should consists again of light skipping for 10 minutes to allow the blood to re- circulate throughout the body, as the muscles particularly those of the biceps and shoulders will be contracted or bruised after being hit. Perform the static cool-down stretches, holding each stretch for 15+ seconds, before increasing the stretch (developmental) for a further 15 seconds. Remove any sweat regularly with a towel to prevent the muscles becoming cold and tight.

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Cricket is a sport that over recent years has developed from a gentleman's game to one which requires high levels of physical and mental abilities. The relationship that a good stretching program has on the game is simple, reduced injury and greater performance, regardless of batting or fielding. Bowlers, especially fast bowlers are prone to injury in the shoulders and elbow of the bowling arm, whereas batsmen are generally injured due by the ball. The fielding players can spend hours, even days in a slightly squatted position such as that of the wicket keeper and slips, and as such the knee joint, quadriceps and hamstring muscles can become tight. Due to the nature of the game it is difficult, other than the two opening batsmen, to warmup and thus stretch properly. The next batsmen in should aim to regularly warm-up, even with just light jogging 2 minutes in every 10 followed by simulated batting movements in order to prepare themselves for the game both physically and mentally. Opening batsman, and all overs if possible should perform the following stretches after a minimum of 5 minutes light jogging and also all the mobility exercises in un-restrictive clothing.

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Prior to going onto the field at short notice, the quick stretch routine should be performed, holding for 10 seconds each stretch.

Whilst walking onto the pitch, dynamic movements, should be carried out to help prepare for the short explosive actions that the game produces. All fielding players should look at warming up with a minimum of 5 minutes mobility exercises, followed by light jogging before performing the warm-up stretches and dynamic movements, combined with the below stretches, prior to warming up with a ball, in order to prepare for hand eye coordination.

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 All players should aim to stay warm and hydrated throughout the game, and perform light dynamic movements and stretches to prevent muscle soreness and cramp. Bowlers can increase their longevity and performance if they warm-up thoroughly and continue to stretch and stay mobile during the match. The cool down should consist of an active raise in the heart rate to again warm-up the muscles, which have been very static for most players. Initially, a simple light jog for 5 minutes around the pitch, followed then by all the cool down stretches for a minimum of 15 seconds, before relaxing and increasing the stretch for a further 15 seconds. PNF stretching carried out once per week at the end of a training session will help maintain the length of the muscle throughout.

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Cross-country skiing is an excellent form of exercise as it utilizes all the major muscle groups and is aerobically very demanding whilst placing little stress on the joints of the body in good skiers. Most injuries are associated with falling accidents and result in sprains to the knee, arm and ankle. The repetitive nature of the cross-country technique can render skiers susceptible to overuse injuries to the muscles so a good stretching routine is recommended at al levels. It would be wise to perform any mobility exercises and dynamic movements indoors, and also wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, (hat and gloves essential). Obviously taking place in a cold climate, the warm-up is best undertaken by spending 10 minutes gradually building up the speed of your skiing and also the length of each movement. Once warm look at performing the warm-up stretches, holding each stretch for 15 seconds, key areas to stretch are the quadriceps, triceps and adductor (inner thigh) muscles. After every 4 stretch, spend a further minute either skiing or performing the dynamic movements in order to keep your body warm. The following sports specific stretches should also be carried out whenever possible.

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After your stretching you should again warm-up into your skiing for a further 5 minutes as your body has cooled down. Competitive skiers should warm-up wearing extra layers, which they can remove at the start of a race, and also consider spending longer warming up after the stretch phase 15 minutes. The cool down for all skiers should be a minimum of 5 minutes reduced pace skiing, with race skiers replacing their warm clothing and taking in any fluid. The aim is here is to relax the body down into its normal state gradually, concentrate on deep breathing and bringing the heart rate down slowly and safely, prior to commencing the cool-down stretches, normally once your in the warmth of a suitable room. Remember to dry any sweat away from your body, and if possible apply fresh warm clothing to keep your muscles warm, if you've to return back to your home or hotel, a warm shower is recommended before performing all the cool down stretches.

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Cycling either indoors on a gym bike or outside in the open air is an excellent form of exercise for the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), and also a low impact leg workout. Competitive cyclists compete in either short sprint races on a track or road, or longer endurance style races such as the Tour de France (23 days). Those that compete on the track or short races on the road should spend adequate time preparing for their race by first spending 5 minutes warming up their joints with the mobility exercises, and then a minimum of 15 minutes active warming up on a bike. The bike warm-up should begin with a light gear, gradually increasing the cadence (pedal speed) and then increase the resistance. This can be performed on a turbo trainer or on your own bike. Cyclist's injuries are often related to strains on the lower back, neck and wrists as these areas unlike the legs are often fixed statically throughout the cycle ride. Try and avoid letting these muscles become sore by allowing them to have a simple stretch during your ride, for example sitting upright for a few seconds or cycling out of the seat will help ease the tension. After your warm-up phase complete the warm-up stretches and the sports specific stretches prior to getting back onto your bike and continue to stay warm whilst waiting for the start of the race. You should allow a minimum of 30 minutes to warm-up and stretch if racing.

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For cyclists who are simply going out on a bike ride, spend time performing the mobility exercises then for the first 5 - 10 minutes cycle at an easy pace both in and out of the seat. At the earliest opportunity after this active warm-up come off the bike in a safe place, (don't stretch in the road) and perform the quick stretch routine. The cool down period should consist of 5 minutes light cycling, designed to bring the heart rate down, whilst sitting up-right to ease the tension on the lower back. On completion of your cycle ride, wear warm clothing and carry out the mobility exercises for the back, shoulders, arms and wrists again to help relax these areas. Carry out the cool down stretches, holding each stretch for a period of 15 seconds before taking a deep breath and increasing the stretch as you exhale slowly. PNF stretching on the back, hamstrings, and quadriceps, carried at once a week will help prevent muscle shortening, and thus give you greater flexibility, increased cycling ability and reduce the chances of muscle soreness.

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Football / Soccer is rapidly growing in popularity, for both boys and girls under the ages of 15. Being a team sport there is obviously a highly competitive element to the game, which can result in players on both sides becoming a little frustrated and as such have a tendency to commit fouls on to the opposing players. The most common sites of injuries in soccer players are the knees, ankles, and feet, as a result of either a blow from another player or the twisting movements placed upon these joints. Injuries can be either acute (caused by a single twist or blow) or overuse (caused by a build-up of stress to a joint or muscle / tendon). It is essential that protective clothing in the form of suitable boots with studs and shin guards are worn by all players, with those prone to ankle injuries advised to wear appropriate support. During both training days and matches, all players should spend a minimum of 30 minutes warming up and stretching, due to the vast array of movements and the explosive nature of the game. The warm-up should commence with 5 minutes of mobility exercises, prior to light jogging around the pitch. The pace should be slow, with warm clothing applied. After 5 minutes look at changing the movement to side stepping in both direction, leaning slightly forward whilst taking your heel towards your buttocks and finally jogging forward with a high knee lift and sprinting arm movement. Static warm-up stretches should be carried out along with the following sports specific stretches.

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After an active warm-up and stretch, motor-neurone skills should be prepared by players performing skill drills with a ball, and simply passing to each other. Foot drills, will help prepare the body for the movements associated with the game.

Goalkeepers will need to perform additional stretches, however they should still warm-up with the main group, and aim to keep actively moving throughout the game, especially the arms and feet to prevent these areas becoming cold resulting in slower reaction times and reduced flexibility. During the half time period of a match, it is vital to stay warm both actively and with suitable clothing, and whilst waiting for the match to begin, carry on stretching especially the lower leg where 80% of all injuries in soccer are associated. Substitutes should warm-up with the main squad and aim to stay actively warm throughout the match, with managers giving these players as much notice to prepare prior to going on to the field. The cool down should be a gentle light jog around the playing field for 5 minutes before the cool down stretches carried out. PNF stretching, especially for the hamstring and adductor (inner thigh) muscles should be carried out at least twice a week in the playing season, as these muscle are prone to becoming tight and injured.

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Golfers at any level can reap the benefits that stretching can offer to their game. Played by all ages and both genders the sport is growing in popularity. Injuries in golfers tend to be due to overuse, and poor technique, with both gender and playing ability contributing to the area of injury. The leading side of the body, the one facing up the fairway is more prone to injury compared to the trailing side due the rotational and compression forces applied. Amateur men tend to apply too much effort into their shots, and as such cause injury to the lower back, elbow, hand and wrists and shoulders. Amateur women are more prone to elbow injuries, especially when striking the ground with the club, the lower back, shoulders and hand and wrists. In comparison professional golfers of both gender generally suffer overuse injuries to their hands and wrists, lower back, shoulders and elbows. Using suitable equipment made for you, and correct clothing, (glove and shoes) will help to minimise injuries associated to the sport. Mobility work is a must for golf, look at spending a minimum of 10 minutes carrying out the mobility exercises, paying particular attention to the areas of the hands, wrists, arms, and trunk prior to beginning the dynamic stretches. Utilize the warm-up stretches with the following sports specific stretches to maximize your golfing potential.

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Prior to playing your game, aim to hit some balls into a driving net, or actually on the driving range, gradually increasing the power you place into each shot. With each shot off the green, aim to take a few practice swings to maintain your body's flexibility, because other than walking, the actual physical time spent in a game of golf equates to less than a second per swing. Prior to teeing off, perform the mobility exercises and dynamic stretches for the trunk, and aim to keep the wrists, shoulders and elbows mobile throughout the game. The cool down phase should again consist of the mobility and dynamic exercises for 5 minutes to allow the muscles and joints to warm-up and be more pliable for the stretch. Use the cool down stretches, holding each for 15 seconds before taking a deep breathe to open up the lungs, and then taking the stretch further whilst exhaling out the air.

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With the majority of gym goers using the gym simple to get fit / lose weight, the amount of exertion placed onto the body is generally light, and in a controlled manner. However those that are new to the gym environment or looking at changing their gym workout, will find that stretching will help prevent both serious injury and help the bodies healing process for the micro traumas (small tears) that is associated with muscle exertion. Fortunately most people that go to the gym have a good understanding about the importance of stretching, however they often ignore the key part to a successful stretch the warm-up, and simply go straight into their stretching routine. Allocate time into your workout for stretching, certainly at the end of your session, however also at the beginning to aid preparation for any body exertion and to isolate any tight muscles within your body that normal everyday living will not pickup. Look at performing the lower body and trunk mobility exercises, before sitting on a stationary bike at a low resistance for a minimum of 5 minutes. Whilst cycling as long as you feel secure, carry out the mobility exercises for the shoulders, neck, arms and wrists. Some gyms will have bikes specifically designed for warming up the body, utilizing both arm and leg actions together, (if these are available use them). The warm up stretches, are designed to stretch all the major muscle groups, and as such these should be the ones carried out, only after you have warmed-up your muscles sufficiently. Due to lack of time being one of the main reasons people avoid stretching; the quick stretch routine should be the absolute minimum prior to working out. Regular gym users will perform a combination of aerobic activity and also weight lifting resistance machine work. Aim to perform your aerobic work first prior to going on to your body conditioning as this will help warm-up the muscles leaving the rower your last piece of aerobic work, as this is an excellent warm-up prior to any weight lifting exercises. Remember to stretch the muscles worked and stay warm if using weights / resistance machines during your workout for optimum performance. The cool down should consist of light aerobic work for 5 minutes to bring the heart rate down comfortably, or if you have been doing body conditioning, then you can move into the cool down stretches. If you have cooled down too much, spend 5 minutes light rowing or cycling to aid the blood flow through the muscles. As most of us are keen to develop the abdominal area, the cool down could be spent doing your abdominal routine after you have finished your aerobic session, however aim to wipe away any surface sweat from your skin and also apply warm clothing or your towel to prevent the muscles getting cold.

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Hockey players are susceptible to a number of injuries throughout the playing season. These injuries are commonly from knocks and blows during the game and training sessions, however overuse injuries especially in the ankles and lower back are common towards the end of the season. Correct footwear and protective clothing, shin guards - gum shield, will help reduce serious injuries. All players will reduce their injuries throughout the year with a well structured fitness regime, implementing stretching to aid in the flexibility that is required to be at the highest level of the sport. A minimum of 30 minutes should be allocated to your pre-match warm-up and stretching routine in order to reduce injury and increase physical performance for players. The mobility exercises, should be performed for a minimum of 5 minutes prior to going onto your aerobic warm-up. Begin with light jogging around the pitch without your Hockey stick, gradually increasing the pace and implementing the following movements. Side steps facing in both directions, leaning forward whilst bringing your heels to your buttocks, high knee raises and light running backwards. After 10 minutes active warm-up, begin the warm-up stretches, and also the sports specific stretches below. Stay actively warm by jogging again after every fourth stretch, you may wish to perform this with your Hockey stick and ball.

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Practice your ball skills after your stretch to help with your hand eye co-ordination and mentally prepare yourself for the game. Throughout your warm-up and during the game, aim to drink fluid whenever possible to stay well hydrated. Prior to going onto the field remain warm with suitable clothing, and perform suitable dynamic exercise. All substitutes should stay warm and regularly stretch throughout the game. Likewise during periods of none play, (injury / half time) aim to stay actively warm and stretch in order to be at your maximum playing ability when the game re-commences. Your cool-down period should begin with 5 minutes light jogging wearing warm clothing to help lower the heart rate. Use the cool down stretches, holding each stretch for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and easing the stretch further as you exhale, aim to hold for another 15 seconds. The PNF stretches for the hamstring and lower back will help reduce muscle shortening in these areas, and as such should be performed after each session. Any injuries should be treated immediately, even before the cool down, as often players may be injured, but the adrenaline of the match may block out the pain.

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Horse riding either recreational or equestrian carries a higher injury rate than that of motorcyclists, with more than 2,300 riders under the age of 25 hospitalized in the USA. On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding, whilst an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours. Injuries are often the result of a fall, and commonly occur in the upper extremities, such as the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Lower extremity injuries, involving the knee, ankle, and feet are more frequent in rodeos due to the rapid turning movements. Correct protective clothing for both the horse and rider is essential to reduce the risk of injury, likewise great respect needs to be given whilst amongst horses, with parents explaining the dangers to their children, at the same time, keeping a close eye on them. Horse riding, especially for those new to this experience will often give rise to feeling sore between the inner thigh, upper quadriceps and lower back, due to these muscles being worked often in an isometric (static) mode, in order to minimize excessive movement whilst mounted on the horse. Isometric exercise places considerable strain on the muscles, and as such new or irregular riders should aim to progress slowly the amount of time they spend in the seat according to their own body condition. There is nothing wrong with riding for say twenty minutes, then having a short break to stretch out before riding for a further 20 minutes. Carry out the mobilization exercises prior to going into your warm-up phase. Your warm-up could involve the daily chores undertaken at most stables, i.e. mucking out, filling water buckets etc, anything that will raise your heart rate slightly to enable the muscles to get warm through blood flow. Once warm, look at doing all of the warm-up stretches, as you will find that horse riding will place a strain on muscles that you didn't know existed. After giving your complete body a good stretch, use the following stretches prior to mounting and descending your horse to reduce muscle stiffness in prominent riding muscles. Always remember to stretch in a safe area, with warmed muscles. The warm-up should also consist of gentle riding to allow the muscles to become accustomed to the movements for both horse and rider for a minimum of 5 minutes.

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Remember that tired muscles become tight and such lose their flexibility, which often results in poor riding position. Likewise your horse when tired will become more prone to injury and have an unbalanced stride, increasing the risk of injury to both horse and rider. Your cool down should consist of light riding for 5 minutes before performing the mounting and descending stretches as soon as possible. After you have administered your horse, spend more time stretching out, once again the descending stretches and then the cool down stretches. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds then inhale, gradually increasing the stretch as you breathe out slowly.

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Ice - Hockey is a physically demanding and often aggressive contact sport that has a number of injuries associated with it. Certain injuries can be avoided with the correct protective clothing, however the rapid twisting and turning especially of the upper body whilst trying to balance at high speed places excessive stresses on the bodies core stability area of the abdominal's, lower back and upper thigh. Hockey injuries tend to vary according to the season of the game, with muscle strains at the beginning of the season, along with more serious injuries such as shoulder dislocations where players literally fight for their positions. As the season progresses, overuse injuries such as tendinitis and torn muscles occur due to fatigue and poor conditioning throughout the season. Stretching and mobility exercises should be carried out throughout the season, not just on race and training days. Begin with the mobility exercises, followed by an aerobic warm-up, ideally light jog skipping - cycling etc, or if circumstances dictate light skating both forward and back on the ice for a minimum of 10 minutes. Restrictive protective clothing should not be worn during the warm-up phase, as there should be no contact or any need to carry your stick. After you've finished your warm-up, come off the ice and stretch in a relaxed position wearing warm clothing. Stretching whilst on the ice or wearing skates will require your muscles to be worked in order to control your balance, because of this the muscles you're trying to stretch will often be contracted, and hence unable to stretch adequately. Look at the warm-up stretches, followed by these sports specific stretches to prepare yourself for your final phase, which should be your drill work on the ice to bring your neuromuscular system to optimum performance.

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Substitutes and those in the sin bin, should aim to continually stay warm and stretch to enable themselves to be prepared for the explosive nature of the game. Cooling down, like the warm-up should be carried out by all players by bringing the heart rate up for those that have been static on the sideline, whilst gradually bringing the heart rate down for those who have been on the ice. Stretching should again take place off the ice, with the removal of all protective clothing. Showering prior to your stretches can help, as often the protective clothing restricts blood flow whereas the hot water and hand massage will revitalize the muscles. Look at the cool down stretches, and also perform the sports specific stretching holding each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds before inhale and increasing the stretch as you exhale. PNF stretching for the groin - hamstrings - and shoulders should be carried out at least once a week during the match season.

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Rapidly grown in recent years, inline skating provides a good workout for your lower limbs and heart and lungs, whilst placing little stress impact on your joints and muscles. Unfortunately many injuries do occur, mainly from falls or collisions, however simple procedures will minimize these injuries. Having the correct size skates is essential for both balance and comfort. When buying your skates, it's important to remember that your feet are smallest when you first awake, and largest at the end of the day, or after exercise. Wear ideally two pairs of thin sport socks when you both skate and purchase your boots, as this will help prevent blisters. Avoid buying boots that place pressure on any part of your foot, as this pressure will increase when you skate. Before placing your skates on, put on your protective clothing, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards and helmet. Spend a minimum of 5 minutes going through the mobility exercises, paying particular attention to the ankle and wrist joint. Stretching with your skates on requires your muscles to be used to aid balance, and for this reason they are unable to relax and stretch sufficiently. Recreational skaters should look at spending 5 minutes plus performing the dynamic movements, after which they should do the following stretches.

Learning the basic skills; such as how to stop, turning etc on a smooth surface should be your first encounter with skates on. Advanced skaters or speed skaters should spend a minimum of 10 minutes light skating, before removing their skates and performing the dynamic movements and stretches above.

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Muscle strains tend to be in the inner thigh, buttocks, upper thigh and lower back. Additional time stretching these areas both prior and at the end of your skating session will prevent muscle soreness. Begin skating with small movements gradually increasing in order to allow the muscles worked to go through the movements in a controlled manner. The reverse should be done for your cool down, reduce your speed and also length of each movement to help lower the heart rate and prepare your body for the cool down stretches . Hold each of these stretches for 15 seconds, then take a deep breathe and increase the stretch for a further 15 seconds. If you find that your sore in particular areas, spend time stretching these muscles using the stretches available throughout the book.

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The movements made by the body in most martial arts are highly explosive, taking the body passed its normal range of motion, especially whilst using the legs. Continuos stretching of the complete body will help prevent the high number of muscular injuries associated with the majority of martial arts. New students should be encouraged and shown how to stretch prior to becoming over zealous with any martial art movements, especially kicks, as these will result in torn muscle fibres, especially in the hamstrings. The nature of sport, being one of self-defence and contact obviously has a high number of injuries resulting in contact with blows, with your opponent, weapon or floor. Protective clothing is essential; likewise sparring should be carried out between opponents of equal ability, and under supervision. With fitness playing a part in martial arts, training sessions should take the form of a highenergy aerobic style warm-up for 20 minutes. This would include running on the spot, skipping, press-ups, squat thrusts etc, anything to stimulate blood flow to the muscles. Static stretching is not suitable for most martial art movements, look at performing the mobility exercises, and then go onto the dynamic movements. Once warm, begin each movement at a reduced intensity, gradually building up both the range of motion and velocity as you feel your muscles ease into the action. The following static stretches should be performed each morning, or as the cool down stretches after your training sessions. Wear warm non-restrictive clothing, and only begin the stretches after sufficient time has been spent actively warming-up. Concentrate on breathing relaxed throughout the stretch, aiming to develop each stretch a little further as you feel your muscles relax.

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As you progress positively with your martial arts training, you will naturally find yourself becoming more flexible, and as such you will need to increase the difficulty under guidance of a qualified instructor for new stretches specific to your martial art.

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Netball is a sport that is growing in popularity world wide, however is the most popular team based sport played in Australia, resulting in them having dominated the world series over previous years. A high level of skill and physical fitness is required as players aim to rapidly change direction whilst trying to either break free or stick close to their opponents. Netball involves jumping, running and passing at speed, whilst concentrating on catching a ball or to intercept the passes from the opposing team. Injuries are common, however generally not serious, with adult players suffering sprains and strains to the ankles, knees and hands, whilst younger players suffer injuries to the fingers, generally as a result of poor catching skills. Tapping correctly administered on the fingers will help strengthen the joints reducing both fractures and dislocations. The playing surface should be clean and dry, with all players wearing appropriate footwear to reduce the level of injury when players either fall, collide or land incorrectly. The warm-up phase should begin with 5 minutes of mobility exercises to lubricate all the joints before moving on to more active movements such as skipping / light jogging. Stay warm throughout the stretching period with suitable clothing, and perform all the warm-up stretches, followed by the dynamic stretching movements. Once you have fully stretched, time should be spent on mind-body connection and hand eye drills. This simply means practicing your passing and shooting skills in order to make the central nervous system and your body's proprioception more effective from the start of your game. You may also wish to perform the foot drills to aid foot / brain co-ordination, and the sports specific stretches below.

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The quick stretch routine should be carried out prior to the start of the game or during any rest / injury periods and as the minimum for any new substitutes coming into the game, the following should be performed.

The cool down and stretch period should be a gradual process to reduce the heart rate steadily. Remove any surface sweat and apply warm clothing before performing all the static cool down stretches holding the stretch for 15 seconds then take a deep breath in, and on the exhale aim to increase the stretch for a further 15 seconds. PNF stretching with a partner after the game and also regular massage can both help maintain a good range of movement that the game requires.

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Freestyle parachuting is a new and expressive aspect in skydiving. As with all methods of parachuting, there numerous injuries that can be avoided, especially for those initially coming into the sport. Injuries range from muscular strains, especially in the biceps and pectoral ( chest ) muscles due to the arms being whipped out during decent, to a high number of leg and spine injuries associated with poor landing skills / conditions. It's essential that all jumpers engage in safe jumping practices, these include regular checks of equipment, jumping within own limitations, belonging and learning from an affiliated club. A freestylist's life depends on their equipment and their knowledge to deal with split second emergency maneuvers. Warming-up your muscles and stretching prior to jumping will give your body an increased range of movement, and thus place less strain during complex or simple exercises taking place under high pressure due to gravity. Restrictions due to flying to jump heights 12,000 feet plus in small aircraft's, places the importance of warming-up and stretching whilst on the ground. This should be done with a minimum 10 minutes light aerobic work, such as jogging or skipping, followed by the mobility and dynamic warm-up exercises. The warm-up stretches, plus the sports specific stretches below, should be carried out in nonrestrictive but warm clothing, some jumpsuits are ideal for this. Stay warm whilst on the ground, regularly carrying out the dynamic movements, especially the swimming actions.

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During your flight, keep your joints lose with the mobility exercises, and aim to perform as many of the sports specific stretches that are possible. The most important thing that you need to do, during the whole process, is to check your equipment, don't start any of the stretches or warm-up routine until your equipment has been properly checked. Once you have jumped safely, try and perform the quick stretch routine to release the tension within your muscles, prior to checking and arranging your equipment, or having any jump debrief. At the end of your days jumping, warm-up all your muscles again with light aerobic work, before using the cool-down stretches to help prevent muscle soreness.

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With the introduction of indoor climbing walls, rock climbing has become more popular, as a result of which, has increased the number of injuries sustained by this extreme sport. Physically, it is very demanding, especially on the muscles of the wrists and forearm which are often under tension throughout a climb, and also the muscle of the back, arms and shoulders. Stretching will not only help prevent muscular injuries but also enable you to perform difficult maneuvers that require a high degree of flexibility and good proprioception (body awareness). Modern equipment and suitable training supervision at indoor climbing centre’s has helped reduce serious injuries, however overuse injuries prevent climbers at all levels enjoy their chosen sport to the full. The joints and muscles in the forearms, wrist and fingers suffer the most injuries, and as such time should be spent on developing these areas physically and remedially. The warm-up should consist of four phases, firstly the mobility exercises, performing the movements for the fingers - wrists - and shoulders twice. After this your aerobic warm-up needs to be undertaken to heat up your muscles, this can be walking to the start of the climb if outdoors, or a minimum of 10 minutes aerobic work such as skipping if indoors. The stretching phase should enable you to take all your limbs to their full range of movement, and as such it is worthwhile looking through this book at the different stretches for each muscle group, or beginners using the warm-up stretches.

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As we all have a different level of flexibility these stretches may not be sufficient for experienced climbers, the key is to stretch and also climb within your limits and progress safely and positively. The final phase of the warm-up should include simple climbs to stimulate the muscles that you're going to use, and as such help return the blood back to the heart from the forearms. If you find that on these easy climbs that your forearms feel pumped (full of blood) and ache, then aim to spend more time warming up aerobically followed by more stretching. The cool down should again begin with aerobic work to help circulate the blood followed by the cool-down and sports specific stretches, paying particular attention to the wrist fingers - and forearm.

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Rugby is one of the most physically demanding games in terms of player injuries. Since the game has gone professional from its amateur status injuries have increased nearly 50% due to players becoming physically stronger and faster and playing with generally more determination. With serious injuries at the rate of 1 an hour during play, it is understandable that players at all levels are now wearing padded clothing and headgear. Unfortunately this protection only reduces cuts and bruises but with the impact only reduced by no more than 5%, serious injuries are still common place. Blood injuries tend to occur in the first half of the game, with more serious injuries in the second half, when players are tired and prone to poor tackling / ball handling skills. Flankers and the front row are the most commonly replaced forwards while wing and centre three quarters are the most vulnerable playing positions among backs. Tackling is where 2/3rds of injuries occur, with most being to the lower limbs especially the knee, with older players more prone to injury. Upper body injuries are often caused by the player making the tackle, with dislocation and strains of the shoulder being the most prominent. It is essential that both active players, and those that have been injured and in rehabilitation, have a well structured stretching program, that also combines regular massage / physio, to aid players in keeping fit and in shape for the game. All match and training sessions should have a long warm-up and stretch, as every muscle will be used, normally beyond its natural limitations. Begin with the mobility exercises, this can often highlight past injuries such as poor range of motion in the shoulder joint, it is always worth having these checked by a qualified person prior to playing. The aerobic warm-up should last at least 15 minutes with simple ball passing drills utilized to aid neuromuscular co-ordination whilst increasing blood flow to the muscles about to be stretched. Perform all of the warm-up stretches, and include the following sports specific stretches. Aim to do these stretches in un-restrictive warm clothing, keeping warm after every fourth stretch with further light jogging for 30 seconds.

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After your static stretching or team talk, look at increasing the heart rate again by performing the dynamic movements, and also the foot drills to prepare your feet and brain co-ordination. It is wise for all players, including substitutes to stay warm throughout the game, and also to drink suitable sports based fluids to help their muscles perform correctly. All injuries however trivial should be treated at the earliest opportunity to help recovery. As players tend to be totally exhausted in the last 10 minutes of play, the sound of the whistle tends to lead straight to the showers. Look at avoiding the rapid drop in heart rate and blood flow around the muscles, by spending what only takes 5 minutes of light jogging around the field to bring the heart rate down to a healthier level in which to stretch. Having a hot shower and removing restrictive protective clothing will aid in your post match stretch, using the cool down stretches. As you perform these stretches you will often find sore muscles in a particular area, look within this book for other suitable stretches for that area, aiming to hold all stretches for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and holding the stretch for a further 15 seconds as you exhale.

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Running injuries are easily prevented, if a few simple guidelines are adhered too. The first main factor is your footwear, buying the right training shoes, this does not need to be either a science or a fashion statement. Checking both the sole and rear of your shoe, will tell you want kind of foot placement and running style you have. Ideally your foot should strike the ground with the heel, and you should push off with the ball of your foot. Some people role inwards on their heel (pronating), and as such the heel on the inside of the shoe will often show signs of wear and damage on the inside. Motion control shoes will have extra support on the inside (firmer cushioning) to help prevent the foot rolling inwards (pronating). People whose wear is on the outside of the heel, (supinator) should look for a shoe with good cushioning, especially on the outer heel. Excessive rolling of the foot may require the runner to use specially designed orthotics to aid foot placement. As with all sports, using the right footwear will prevent injury, long distance runners, or those that are of a larger build, should avoid using racing flats, as these offer very little support and cushioning. Overuse injuries in runners are most often caused by running too far, too fast, too soon. Aim to increase your running mileage by no more than 10% per week, this will allow your body to strengthen and develop, whilst maintaining good running form throughout your run. Run on smooth flat surfaces (running track), avoid running in the road, as these tend to have a beveled edge to aid water removal - plus you risk being hit by moving traffic. If you feel pain, especially in the lower legs, aim to ease of the running for a while 5 - 10 days, using other methods of non-impact exercises to keep fit (cycling - rowing). Prior to your run you should perform the mobility exercises, followed by the dynamic movements to help warm-up the muscles and joints. Ease gently into your run for 5 - 10 minutes with light jogging before performing all of the warm-up stretches plus these running specific stretches. After every fourth stretch, spend a further minute light jogging again to keep your body warm, or alternatively ease into your running speed after a further 5 minutes light jogging.

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Commence your cool-down at the end of your run, spend at least 5 minutes light jogging to gradually allow your heart rate to come down. Wear warm clothes and take in some fluid at this point, bringing your jog down to a fast walk, aiming to stride out the legs, lifting up on your toes with each movement. Carry out the stretches above, before moving onto the cool-down stretches, aiming to hold and each stretch for 15 seconds, and then taking a deep breathe and repeating the stretch again as you slowly exhale concentrating on taking the stretch slightly further.

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Sailing is like most land-based sports in that it can require great demands of the human body, especially during rough sea conditions, and long races lasting many weeks / months, where the body is not only bruised, but also often restricted of nutrients to stay in peak physical condition. Injuries are often as a result of trauma, and consist mainly of lacerations and bruising, but also a high number of fractures; sailors having a better knowledge of the craft they're sailing on can reduce a number of these. Regularly sailors suffer from overuse injuries, with those on larger yachts sensitive to both upper extremity and low back injuries, especially "sewers" and "grinders" who often place their biceps and lower spine under extreme strain. Whilst smaller crafts tend to place more pressure on the lower limbs, with the tension within the quadriceps often causing pain to the knee, known as patella femoral pain syndrome (PFPS). For sailors taking part in long races, it is wise to learn each other's skills, and change duties on the craft to enable muscles to be given time to repair. Adaptive shortening due to the muscles constantly being used, can take place, especially in the biceps muscles, so regular maintenance stretching needs to take place to prevent this. The warm-up can obviously be difficult if on the water, as it needs to be safe. Begin with suitable mobility exercises, then move into performing the dynamic exercises. The following stretches should be performed as often as possible to reduce overuse injuries, ideally at least once every 3-4 hours during long races.

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Sailing for short periods, (few hours or day) would still benefit from stretching to reduce muscle soreness and improve sailing ability. Spend time performing the mobility exercises and then 5-10 minutes light aerobic work, fast walking etc, before performing the warm-up stretches, followed by the above stretches. After you have finished your sail, you will certainly find muscles feeling sore, and as such stretching will relieve some of this muscle tension. Aim to re-circulate the blood again throughout the body, especially in the lower extremities, with fast walking, whilst performing the dynamic movements in order to increase the heart rate. Look at the cool down stretches, and concentrate on holding each stretch for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and extending the stretch as you exhale for a further 15 seconds.

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Skiing for most people is in the form of a 7 day holiday 96 days of skiing) once a year in the pursuit of good snow. Time should be given prior to your holiday to concentrate on your fitness in order to get the full benefits from only a short period on the snow. Fortunately with modern equipment and ski instruction at dry ski schools, serious injuries are reducing in number, however overuse injuries and muscle soreness prevent many people from improving their skiing. Beginners and less experienced skiers have a higher risk of injury than intermediate or advanced skiers, with falls being the main cause of injury. During a fall, aim to clench your fist away from the ski pole, as this will help prevent you dislocating or damaging your thumb joint. Sprains, lacerations, fractures and bruising are the most common types of injuries, with the knee, shoulder and thumb being the main areas. More accidents occur in either the late morning or afternoon when your muscles are often tired, and your body is feeling hungry, so aim to drink (not alcohol) and eat snacks throughout the day. Snowboarders have fewer knee injuries due to both feet fixed on to the board, however they are vulnerable to head injuries, especially when participating in aerial maneuver's, so headgear is advised. Look at beginning your warm-up in the comfort of your room, by first having a warm shower or bath, followed by all the mobility exercises. You may feel particularly sore and stiff from the previous days skiing in certain areas of your body, so spend extra time mobilizing these joints. Use the aerobic warm-up, to help increase the blood flow, in order to make the muscle more pliable. Follow this by the warm-up stretches, and also look at the stretches below specific to skiing. All these stretches are best performed in a warm comfortable room, where your muscles will be more pliable, and your clothes will stay dry.

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Aim to stay warm with suitable clothing whilst traveling up the slope, and prior to beginning each ski look at performing 10 -15 standing squats. Start your skiing on easier runs progressing gradually in order to warm-up the muscle and improve your coordination and balance. The cool down is best like the warm-up completed in the comfort of your room after a warm shower, ideally 15 minutes after your last ski run. You may wish to warm-up aerobically, especially if your muscles are already feeling sore. Look at the cool-down stretches, holding each stretch for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and extending the stretch for a further 15 seconds whilst you exhale. Due to falls and sore muscles not normally used, you may wish to choose other suitable exercises within this book associated with that part of the body.

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Squash is a popular racket sport, that is very explosive in nature with players requiring a good level of fitness, unlike other racket sports as actual active time on the court can be 70% plus. Most players are male, and over the age of 25, with mainly males in the 40+ age category having a higher risk of injury. As a sport, players of all ages and abilities should aim to get fit for that sport, not use the sport as a way of getting fit. The nature of the game with its sudden anaerobic periods can cause serious injury (cardiac related) to unconditioned players. Injuries occur due to falls on the court, or being hit with either the racket or ball, so correct footwear and eye protection is advisable. Regular players suffer from overuse injuries, especially to the wrist, forearm and the knee joint. Fortunately most squash clubs are associated with gyms, or at least have some aerobic exercise equipment such as exercises bikes which you should use for at least 15 minutes, after you have performed the mobility exercises. Alternatively you could try skipping or light jogging if no aerobic equipment is available, avoid simply walking onto the court and warming up by hitting the ball against the wall. Serious players should allow a minimum of 30 minutes for their warm-up and stretching if they want to be match ready once they walk onto the court. Utilize all the warm-up stretches, and then perform the following squash specific stretches.

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Prior to walking onto the court for the general 5-minute warm-up look at performing some dynamic movements and foot drills, and if possible use a spare court to practice shots or serving to adequately prepare your neuro-muscular system. Squash being a very sociable game, is often played as team matches, once your match has finished, avoid sitting down and supporting your team, work on your cool down to avoid sore muscles, and the risk of blood pooling which causes dizziness. Spend a minimum of 5 minutes bringing your heart rate back to normal levels with either walking or light cycling prior to performing the cool down stretches. If you're going to be playing in a second match, hold each stretch for 15 seconds, and then aim to stay warm, taking in suitable fluid, before warming up and stretching again, this time for 15 minutes prior to your second match. Once you have finished all matches, perform the cool down stretches, holding each for 15 seconds before inhaling and extending the stretch for a further 15 seconds as you exhale.

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Surfing is a sport that is rapidly expanding due to the high adrenaline rush and media exposure that many TV programs aim to associate themselves with this sport. With the increase in surfers, comes an increase in injuries, especially within areas that are highly populated with inexperienced surfers. Most injuries are lacerations due to contact with either your own board (fins) or being hit by another surfboard nose / fins. Protective clothing, especially headgear can greatly reduce the high number of injuries to the head, as the rest of the body is often protected by being underwater. Strains to the shoulder joint regularly occur, and are often made worse by surfers continuing to participate even whilst injured. Environmental exposure from either the sun, or cold conditions also reduces surfing time, as does ear exostosis so wearing suitable protection is strongly advised. Surfing requires good balance and proprioception skills, combined with a flexible body, in order to adjust yourself rapidly to follow the movement of the waves. Begin your stretching phase by performing the mobility exercises, paying particular attention to your ankles - pelvis and shoulder joint. Regular surfers may feel particular sore and tight in certain areas due to overuse or previous falls, always aim to spend extra time both mobilizing and stretching these areas. Prior to doing the warm-up stretches, spend a minimum of 10 minutes doing light aerobic work in order to increase your bodies temperature and thus make your muscles more pliable. The aerobic work could be light jogging or skipping, or even waxing your board, anything that increases your heart rate gradually. These sports specific stretches should also be used prior to your first surf, along with the dynamic movements to fully prepare your body.

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If you're surfing for more than 30 minutes, look at spending 5 minutes performing these stretches to help relax your muscles and prevent injury due to tired muscles. Your cool down should be done in dry comfortable clothing, once again warming up the body with a minimum of 5 minutes aerobic work, certainly longer if you feel cold. Carry out the cool down stretches, holding each stretch for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and increasing the stretch for a further 15 seconds as you exhale. During this sequence of stretches you may find particular areas stiff, look within this book at suitable stretches for that area, and perform another stretch.

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An excellent all-round aerobic and muscle conditioning sport, especially suited for rehabilitation and weight loss due to the buoyancy given by the water. Injuries associated with swimming are due to overuse and poor technique, with the shoulder area being the most prone to serious soft tissue / muscular injury. Breaststroke swimming can cause injury to the medial ligament of the knee due to the whipping action. Minimizing breaststroke distance by cross-training with other strokes, ensuring adequate warm-up, and increasing training distance gradually will reduce the risk of such injury. Competitive swimmers will tend to swim all year round, often twice a day for up to 2 hours a session. Look for signs of over-training, such as poor sleeping pattern, increased resting heart rate, fatigue, muscle soreness and lack of motivation. A well-structured stretching program should become an essential part of any serious swimmers training routine. As with all stretching, the muscles will need to be warmed, ideally with a combination of passive (warm shower) and active aerobic warm-up. Most competition pools will have a training pool, which will enable swimmers to warm-up actively prior to racing. During training sessions, warm-up swimming drills should always be included, such as 4 x 100-meter swims with all strokes, followed by leg kicks and hand drills. Likewise at the end of your session, time should be spent cooling down and relaxing the muscles with controlled slower swim strokes. Non competitive swimmers will benefit from spending 5 minutes performing the mobility exercises, and then a minimum of 5 minutes doing the dynamic movements. The warm-up and cool-down stretches should be performed both before and after each session, aim to hold each stretch for 15 seconds, taking a deep breath and repeating for a further 15 seconds whilst increasing the stretch. The following sports specific stretches should also be performed to optimize performance.

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Tennis requires quick acceleration, twisting, rapid breaking, explosive arm actions and pivoting, putting the whole body under stress. Often a very sociable game, but still with a competitive edge, most players neglect the importance of a proper warm-up and stretching, and thus incur a number of muscular strains and ligament sprains. Modern equipment has helped reduce injuries, with larger - lighter - stiffer rackets able to absorb the impact forces, and as such reduce the vibrations that will travel into the wrist. Correct grip size for your racket is essential to reduce injury, likewise the type of strings used. Natural gut is more flexible than manmade fibres and will often reduce the strain to the arm. Coaching will help to reduce overuse injuries; for example hitting backhands with a wrist action will place strain on the elbow. The wrist should be in-line with the forearm when striking the ball, to enable the stress to be spread throughout the arm. Begin your warm-up routine with the mobility exercises, spend extra time on areas that may already feel tight, (shoulder - elbow - ankles). Warm-up aerobically for at least 10 minutes by either skipping, light jogging or cycling, avoid hitting balls to warm-up, as this is one of the main causes of injury. Stay warm whilst performing the warm-up stretches, and also these sports specific stretches.

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After every sixth stretch spend 30 - 60 seconds light jogging to enable the muscles to stay warm and pliable. Once you have completed all of the static stretches look at the dynamic stretches, and spend a further 5 minutes doing these movements to simulate the motions made whilst performing the game. After a good 30 minutes you will be both warm and fully stretched to begin playing your practice shots to help your hand eye co-ordination, and complete neuro-muscular system. Begin your play with easy shots from the baseline, before practicing any net shots. Once you've warmed your serving arm, spend a few minutes working into your serve. Remember to take in fluid throughout the warm-up and also during the game. Commence your cool-down as soon as you finish, with a minimum of 5 minutes light jogging to help circulate the blood, especially in the lower legs and also to reduce the heart rate gradually. Stay warm with suitable clothing whilst performing the cool down stretches.

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Volleyball being a non-contact sport has a high rate of injuries, fortunately however most of these are not serious. Most injuries occur from overuse or jumping, especially when blocking or spiking the ball. Correct jumping and ball handling techniques will reduce the number of injuries, likewise taping of fingers and ankles will provide additional to strength too vulnerable areas. Plyometric (explosive jumping) training should be carried out at least twice a week, especially in the off season, aiming for players to take longer steps prior to jumping, with the emphasis on achieving height not forward momentum. Care should always be taken on landing, especially in the "Conflict Zone", as injuries caused by another player landing on your foot are common. Playing on sand or wooden floors reduces the impact of each landing or fall, compared to concrete. Knee pads, wrist guards and supportive trainers should all be warn when playing on hard surfaces. Pain below the knee (Patellar Tendonitis) is one of the most common overuse injuries, due to the jumping, landing and squatted position players undertake throughout a match and training. With all muscle groups being used, adequate time needs to be given for the warm-up and stretch. After your mobility exercises a minimum of 10 minutes active aerobic warm-up, light jogging / skipping followed by the warm-up stretches. Dynamic movements, need to be worked until a light sweat is built up in order to make you fully match prepared. Incorporate ball handling and passing drills into your dynamic warm-up in order to stimulate your hand eye co-ordination. Remember with both your passing and jumping to start with small movements, gradually building up to match level. Throughout the game continue to perform the mobility exercises, especially for the wrists and ankles and also any of the following stretches whenever you get chance, especially between sets or games.

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The cool down should again consist of light jogging for 5 - 10 minutes in order to help stretch out the legs, combined with swimming actions for the arms to help loosen off the shoulder and arm muscles. Carry out the cool down stretches, holding each stretch for 15 seconds prior to inhaling and increasing the stretch for a further 15 seconds as you exhale. During this sequence of stretches you may find particular areas stiff, look within this book at suitable stretches for that area, and perform another stretch.

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Walking reduces blood pressure, lowers the levels of " bad LDL " cholesterol in your blood tones up your muscles and strengthens your bones. An excellent form of exercise for persons who wish to lose weight, or simple improve their fitness level through low impact and low intensity exercise. Requiring only simple equipment, and being able to be performed by almost anyone anywhere and at any time, walking should be promoted more for good health. How to walk. (Briskly) A 90-degree bend in your arm makes your arms a shorter pendulum, so they can swing faster as your step speeds up. At normal speed allow your arms to swing freely and rhythmically, remembering that your arm speed controls your leg speed. Quicker, smaller steps will cover more ground, then long strides, which tire your muscles. Resist the temptation to lengthen your stride to go faster. Strike the floor with the heel of your shoe, roll onto the ball of your foot and aim to push off with your toes. Avoid bending over, looking down on the floor, stay tall with your head up, checking for obstacles that are in your path. When walking uphill, take smaller strides, leaning into the hill, if the hill is really steep, traverse (zigzag) up it to make it easier on your legs. Control your breathing, take full breaths and exhale completely. Your Clothes It is important that your clothes are both comfortable and practical. Prepare to dress for any weather, wearing clean clothing will enable the fibres to both keep your warm and also take the sweat away from your body; matted fibres will not do this. Wearing layers will enable you to both keep warm, as the air is trapped between the layers of clothing, and also let you take layers off as you start to get warm. Aim to carry a waterproof jacket and hat in case the weather turns cold and wet, or if you meet another walker who may have had an injury, and needs to stay warm. Walking Shoes Avoid going for looks; go for comfort when choosing your walking shoes. Training shoes with a laced fit, with rubber soles offer good support for general walking on firm ground. If walking over uneven hilly ground a hiking boot with more support is recommended. When purchasing your shoes, wear your socks, sports socks for trainers, or two thin pairs / one thick pair for hiking boots, cotton / wool non-tight socks will allow your feet to breathe. There are many good designs from fitness walking shoes through hiking boots. You will want more flex in an athletic shoe, more support in a hiking shoe. When choosing hiking boots, you should be able to twist them a bit (torsion flexibility). They need more of a bend than a running shoe - in the forefoot, not the arch, in order to keep the front of the boot slightly off the ground. 185


Inside the boot, you should have good arch support, and a correct fitting, if they feel tight, go up a size, as your feet will expand when hot and under pressure. Boots should have a good pattern on the sole, with at least 1/2 inch of rubber to give both cushioning and grip. The rest of the boot should be made of strong leather or breathable nylon with good water proofing capabilities. Injuries associated with walking are generally caused by falls or trips, the use of specialist walking poles, or even a sturdy stick will help give you balance and extra leverage on steep climbs. Prepare for your walks by performing the mobility exercises. After 5-10 minutes light walking carry out all the warm-up stretches. If you are short of time, i.e. having a walk in your lunch break, carry out the quick stretches, again after 5 minutes of steady walking.

At the end of your walk, carry out the cool down stretches. Concentrate on areas that may feel stiff, your calf's - quadriceps (front thigh) - lower back and triceps (back of arms). Items to carry with you. If simply walking to work, don't forget your brief case and lunch. Fluid if going on long walks, hot in a flask if weather is cold. A whistle if walking in woods, or areas where you may get lost, blow for 6 loud blasts if lost, likewise if you hear, reply with 3 loud blasts back. Snacks, if you are walking for more than an hour, keep your blood sugar up with healthy snacks, such as apples. First Aid kit, containing plasters and if possible blister treatment kits. Strong stick, useful for giving support whilst walking, and also in need of protection. Money, always handy for a thousand and one uses. Sun cream and sun glasses if the weather is nice.

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Water-skiing is increasing in popularity in recent years, especially in the form of wake boarding and bare foot skiing. Unlike snow skiing injury rates are much lower, mainly due to the level of impact and reduced activity time in water skiing. Injuries to the head and lower leg (ankle) are most common, however contusions, lacerations, strains and sprains occur in all areas of the body, due to the nature of the body being thrown and bounced through the water after a fall. In ski jumping, a helmet and personal flotation device is mandatory, and certainly recommended for beginners, or for skiers getting a feel for the water (beginning of the season). It is essential that the towboat driver and equipment being used are fully qualified and maintained to a safe standard, with the use of an observer on the boat to inform the situation of the skier. Developments in clothing and binding for skis are reducing the risk of serious injuries even further, however poor fitness, overuse and lack of skill are increasing strains and sprains, especially in the area of trick skiing and jumping. Warming up the body and stretching will certainly help reduce muscular / joint injuries, as well as enable the skier to have a greater range of movement, essential in the demanding area of slalom skiing. Begin your warm-up with the mobility exercises, spending extra time on areas that me feel tight and tense, such as the ankles and knee joint. If possible spend a minimum of 5 minutes light running or skipping to increase blood flow to make your muscles more pliable, avoid running in a wet suit, or performing any of the warm-up exercises in restrictive clothing. The dynamic exercises, should be carried out under control to prepare your body for at least 10 minutes. Concentrate on aiming to simulate the movements that you will be doing on the water on dry land, you may even rig up a towrope and practice coming up out of the water. Prior to actually skiing and getting your safety / skiing equipment on, perform these sports specific stretches.

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After you've finished your ski, you should have as shower to help warm-up the muscles again, and also to remove either salt from the sea, or bacteria from the water. The wearing of both nose clips and earplugs can help prevent numerous illnesses associated with untreated water. Warm-up your muscles with the dynamic movements, then have a hot shower to remove any dirty water from your body, prior to performing the cool-down stretches, utilizing other stretches in the book for areas that feel tight, once you have removed all restrictive clothing. Regular skiers should aim to spend at least half an hour a week purely working on developmental stretching throughout the ski season in order to get the most out of this seasonal sport. 188


The aims of exercise for most people are to establish a fitter, stronger body. When using weights an individual can certainly achieve remarkable gains in body strength, however the risk of injury can be high, often due to poor technique or over enthusiasm, use the following pointers to help prevent injury to yourself. •

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Warm up ideally aerobically with light rowing, skipping or jogging for 10 minutes, prior to the warm-up stretches, followed by the dynamic movements. Stay warm by wearing a sweatshirt when not lifting, and aim to regularly stretch the muscles being used between sets, in order to keep maximal length of muscle fibres, and as such improve lifting ability. As soon as poor technique is used, the risk of injury increases, stop before this happens, signs are swinging of the weights or straining in the face, normally with your neck turned. Work the muscle smoothly and slowly, to isolate the muscle you are trying to work. Avoid rapid jerking movements, as this still enables the weight to be lifted by using momentum but involves other muscles as well. Concentrate on lowering the weight, slower than when you lifted it. Avoid dangerous or high-risk exercises, start with the basics, and develop good technique then progress slowly. Mimicking other peoples programs should be avoided, have a qualified trainer design the program for you. Make sure the weights are safe, collars are on tight or adjustment pins are in securely. The area in which you train needs to be safe, no weights or obstacles on the floor, plenty of head room, with a floor that is strong enough, just in case you drop the weight. Avoid both hyperventilation and holding of your breath, before and during lifting, unless you are an experienced lifter. Breathe continuously throughout the exercise, exhaling as you lift, and inhaling as you lower. Always wear training shoes with good grip. Avoid putting your body through any unnatural motion, such as excessive arching of the spine or lifting with a rounded spine. Keep the weights dry by using gloves, chalk or having a towel handy. Lifting weights away from your body, makes the exercise harder, take this in mind when choosing your weight. Aim to train with a partner, they can help you lift a weight off if there is a problem, and also check your technique.

Cool down again aerobically in order to get blood flow around your muscles before performing all of the cool-down stretches. During this stretching period you may feel sore in certain areas, so use other suitable stretches for the muscle area.

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These series of stretch routines are designed to be both simple and effective in relieving muscular tension for common complaints in everyday life. For best results, regular maintenance throughout the day / week, will help prevent muscular soreness and back pain associated with tight muscles.

Lower back pain is the second most frequent cause of lost workdays in adults, with four out five adults experience significant problems. Often caused as a result of excessive strain, due to poor posture, being overweight, or by lifting heavy or incorrectly. For some, especially the elderly, enduring back pain may be due to arthritis or loss of bone density (osteoporosis) muscular strength and flexibility. Regular exercise, especially swimming if you suffer from back pain, will help prevent your muscle mass and bone density decreasing. Use correct lifting technique, get help if the object is awkward, and always remember to keep your back straight, lifting with your larger leg muscles. Maintain a good posture, regardless of standing or sittings, aiming to avoid staying static, keep the back mobile. Whilst sleeping, adopt for a firm mattress that enables your spine to remain straight, not sinking into the bed. Persistent backache is often a result of obesity, which can place undue strain on the spine, or emotional stress, which causes individuals to unconsciously tense their muscles. Strengthening and stretching the muscles of the lower back and abdominal area will help prevent back pain occurring. Low back pain can be uncomfortable, however not life threatening, if this pain is associated with leg weakness or numbness, bladder or bowel problems there may be pressure on your nervous system, and as such seeking medical advice is recommended. 1 Arm Dorsal Raise Lie on your front, keeping your toes on the ground, placing one hand and forearm flat on the floor, with the other hand, resting on your forehead, palm facing the floor. Slowly lift one shoulder off the floor, with your elbow pointing upwards, keeping the other forearm flat on the ground. Lower under control and repeat 5 - 15 times each side, 1 repetition every 2 seconds. 190


Progress to performing two arm dorsal raises; remember to keep both feet in contact with the floor at all times.

Simple Obliques Cross one foot over the other leg, resting it upon the thigh. Extend the arm of the crossed leg side outwards; palm facing down to the floor. Support the weight of your head with your other hand, keeping your chin off your chest, and avoid pulling on your neck. Slowly take your supporting elbow up towards your opposite knee. Avoid forcing the movement, travel as far as your abdominal strength allows, repeat 5 - 15 times each side.

Simple Sit Ups Bend your legs to 90 degrees, resting your feet either on the floor or across a raised platform. Support the weight of your head with both hands, keeping your chin off your chest. Commence the exercise by lifting your shoulders off the floor, keeping your elbows out to your sides, lifting your head only 6 - 12 inches off the floor. Perform 10 - 20 repetitions, 1 every 2 seconds.

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Hand Through Rest both knees on the floor, under your buttocks, whilst keeping a straight back, support your upper body by placing one hand on the floor. Extend the other arm across your body, twisting slowly at your waist to take the hand out to your opposite side. Repeat 5 - 10 times each side. Pluto Sniffs Rest on all fours, keeping your knees shoulder width apart, and your hands under your shoulders. Keeping your knees and hands in contact with the floor twist from your sides, aiming to look over one shoulder towards your hip. Alternate from one side to another, in slow steady movements, gradually increasing the range of movement.

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Supermans Rest on one knee, and you're opposite hand, keeping the knee below your hip, and hand below your shoulder. Extend your other arm straight out to your front, whilst extending the opposite leg to your rear. Bring both arm and leg back inwards, and repeat either again on the same side, or alternate sides, performing 10 - 20 repetitions each side.

Correct Lifting Lift using your legs to initiate the movement, rather than your lower back. Stand as close as possible to the object to be lifted, bending the legs, whilst holding the object securely ideally using carrying handles. Keep your back and arm straight throughout the lift, slowly straighten your legs to lift the object in a steady movement, avoiding any jerking. Take small movements with your feet when walking, especially around corners. Avoid lifting any object, which requires you to bend or twist during the movement, for example luggage conveyor belts. If carrying numerous bags, (shopping) aim to spread the weight each side evenly to balance out the strain on the lower back.

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How to Carry Wearing a rucksack incorrectly places tremendous strain on the lower back. Keep heavy objects close to body, at shoulder height, with your lighter items at the bottom and away from your body. Small rucksacks should be worn high, and snug to the upper back / shoulder area, with front straps pulled tight, and any frontal straps used to prevent movement whilst walking. Larger rucksacks ideally will have a hip belt, which you should tighten first prior to the shoulder straps to help distribute the weight predominantly onto the hips.

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How to Sit Choose a chair that contours to your spine (especially lower back), with dense material able to support your weight evenly. Seat cushions need to be sloping at the front, with your legs not in contact with the chair, feet flat on the floor to improve circulation. Armrests reduce the strain on your shoulders, neck and back. Your seated position should enable you to keep your spine upright, with your elbows close to your sides, buttocks touching the rear of the chair and your knees even or slightly higher than your hips. Avoid slouching, leaning to your sides, crossing your legs whilst upright and sitting stationary for long periods. Breathable fabric, castors, height adjusters and swivel legs are all beneficial.

How to Stand Be aware of your standing position, aim to stand tall, and not slouching, keeping your joints in correct alignment so that muscles are worked properly. Aim to keep your head up, with your earlobes in line with the middle of your shoulders. Shoulder blades should be back, with chest forward, stomach in and legs straight. Keep feet firmly on the floor facing forward shoulder width apart. Avoid standing in the same position for long periods.

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General labouring can range from construction work, to gardening, to cleaning the house or ironing the clothes. These activities are not often associated as forms of exercise, so many people will have no inclination to stretch for what can actually be a long aerobic and muscular workout. If time is not a problem, perform the mobility exercises, followed by the dynamic movements . You will soon find that, once you know the movements, you can combine them together, and thus reduce time, as most employers, other than the Japanese, don't fully appreciate the benefits of preparing the body and mind for the day's laboring tasks. Whatever tasks you're performing, it's essential to make sure the tools you're using are not only designed for that job, but are also suited to you. Digging a hole is hard enough, having the wrong shovel, i.e. a handle that is too short or head that is too big, will add unnecessary effort to the job. Look at varying your working position in order to work different muscles, and thus enable those that have been working to have a rest. Simply changing hands while cleaning or ironing will help prevent shoulder and wrist tension. Stopping to stretch or mobilize the joints throughout your manual work should be encouraged wherever possible. Aim to ease gently into your work, and then once your body is warm, look at performing all the quick stretch routine,or if time is not a problem the warm-up stretches and these work related stretches.

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Avoid stretching when you feel sore-the simple key is to stretch to prevent this soreness occurring. If soreness does occur, then aim to relieve the tension first by the mobility exercises, and then using the stretches related to the area of pain. Having a warm bath at the end of the day will help relax your muscles. Utilize the cooldown stretches after your bath, to help reduce muscle soreness and prevent long-term muscular or joint injuries. Reading the notes on back care, will also be beneficial.

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For anyone who works constantly at desk, having regular short breaks to simply stretch the legs will greatly reduce the stress that is placed on the back, while in a compressed position. The back is not the only area to suffer; repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are injuries involving damage to muscles, and tendons and are most commonly associated with keyboard operators, affecting their hands, wrists, and elbows. Normal muscular injuries occur due to over exertion or trauma, RSIs are caused over a period of time, with the muscles and tendons gradually become tensed and damaged. Aim to eliminate the causes of discomfort at work. These could be incorrect desk set-up, insufficient rest time, poorly designed keyboard and mouse, and so on. Stretching in the office does not require you to get changed into your gym clothing: even while stuck at your desk you can perform most of the mobility exercises. Work on the mobility exercises throughout the day, and utilize any short breaks to perform the dynamic stretches in a slow, controlled motion. Being forced to stretch the muscles in a cold state, i.e., not being able to aerobically workout in the office, requires the muscles to be stretched in a gradual developmental manner. Look at holding these stretches for a few seconds only, before relaxing the muscle and repeating the stretch a further 4-5 times, gradually increasing the length of time you hold the stretch. Breathe comfortably throughout this process, inhaling as you commence the stretch, and exhaling as you relax. Prevention is the simple key to avoiding muscular soreness in the office. Utilize your time on the phone, by the photocopier, even sitting in your chair, to perform your stretches.

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Performing the warm-up stretches prior to going to work, or ideally as soon as you arrive especially after walking at least part of the way to work, will help prepare you for the day, likewise, using the cool-down stretches, or the wind down stretches, when you return home will ease the day's tension.

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These combination stretches should be the absolute minimum prior to taking part in any form of physical activity. As with all stretching, they are best performed once the muscles have been given a chance to warm up, ideally 5 minutes into the exercise. If time is really a problem, then work gradually into your workout or physical activity, ensuring you allow the 4 minutes it takes to carry out these quick combination stretches. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds, breathing comfortable throughout, then take a deep breath and increase the stretch a little further. A full description on how each stretch should be performed is given on each stretch's relevant page. Combination Calf and Shoulder Combine the shoulder stretch (strangle shoulder) with the lower leg (calf heel down). Hold both stretches simultaneously for 15 seconds, before changing the arm and leg to be stretched.

Combo - Solues and Tricep Combine lower leg soleus with tricep stretch. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side.

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Combo Hamstring and Back Combine hamstring normal, with back beachball. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds, then repeat with the same leg, this time raising your front foot toes upwards, whilst swapping the inner and outer hands over.

Combo Hamstring and Chest Perform with the opposite leg as used ABOVE with the chest elbows back stretch. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds, before relaxing then repeating, this time aiming to take the elbows closer together, and your foot raised.

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Combo Neck and Quads Perform the lying quad stretch, whilst stretching the quadriceps, slowly apply a steady pressure on the side of your head in order to stretch the neck. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds, then repeat on the other leg and neck muscles.

Combo Adductors and Obliques Combine the adductors side lunge, with a stretch to your shoulders and obliques by extending one arm up straight above your head. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds then repeat on the other side.

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Daily stresses and tension are often built up throughout the day, resulting in muscular tension, especially in the areas of the back, neck, and shoulders. Stress, can become the start of many physical problems, however taking just a few moments each day to relax and de-stress is essential in today's hectic lifestyles. Signs of stress will include, nervous tension, upset stomach, restlessness, irritation, walking or talking faster, excessive smoking - drinking - eating, crying and lack of energy. There are many stresses in our lives, but preparing yourself and noticing the signs of stress prior to tense situations will help you cope both during and after the situation.

Lie on your back with your hands by your side. Inhale slowly and tense all the muscles up in your body, starting with your feet, working up toward your facial muscles. Feel and hold the tension in each muscle, then totally relax and exhale deeply before repeating two to three more times.Avoid excessive tensing if you suffer from high blood pressure. Lie on your back, making yourself as long as possible by straightening your arms and pointing your toes away from you. Take five deep breaths through your nose and slowly exhale out, increasing the stretch throughout your body. As you inhale, relax totally from the stretch, filling your lungs with air.

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Many of us have experienced the discomfort of being cramped up while traveling, whether it is in the air, on a train, or in your own car. These discomforts can lead to a more serious condition, DVT (deep vein thrombosis), especially for those who have suffered blood clots, smokers, people over 40, those who suffer with circulation problems, or have recently undergone surgery, and for women who are or have been recently pregnant or are taking the contraceptive pill or HRT. The main problem areas are the calf, buttocks and hamstrings, especially during long-haul flights. Fortunately, most passengers should be able to stretch and exercise during the journey. Those that are behind the wheel should plan to stop in a safe area at least once an hour to have a quick stretch, using either the quick stretch, or the dynamic movements for the lower body.

Key points to making your journey more comfortable. During your journey, aim sit comfortable, or if forced to stand, aim to be able to lean against something to reduce the weight on your feet. Mobility exercises should be performed on all areas that you can mobilize safely. It's important to remember that working your upper body will help circulate blood in your lower body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these will dehydrate you-drink water or fruit juices instead.

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Lift and lower your heels, pressing the balls of your feet down against the floor, followed by lifting your toes up off the floor. Repeat each movement 20 times or more, at least every hour, to ease calf strain. Straightening and bending the legs, and also bringing the knee into your chest while in a seated position, will help stretch the hamstring muscles. Repeated crossing of the legs (knee over opposite knee), alternately 5 times each leg, will reduce built-up tension in your buttocks, especially if you can increase the stretch by pulling with your arms. Wear loose, comfortable, non-restrictive clothing, and comfortable footwear. Elastic stockings, which are widely available from drug stores, can help reduce the risk of DVT in the more vulnerable. Take advantages of any available time to walk around and stretch, especially the lower limbs. If flying, aim to walk up and down, or perform the following dynamic movement. Stretching before and after your journey will aid and help prevent muscle soreness-use the warm-up and cool-down stretches. At the end of your journey, or during travel breaks, aim to spend a few moments walking, prior to stretching, in order to work any tension out of the muscles.

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