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Arthritis Health Center

WebMD Presents: Arthritis - Therapy in Motion - Stretching

The Flexible Way to Go
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Here are three other simple stretches:

  • To stretch your calves, stand about two feet away from a wall. Put your hands on the wall and lean towards it, keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. You'll feel tension in your calf muscles. Hold it like that for about ten to 20 seconds, and then ease up and do it again.
  • It's also good to stretch the hamstrings -- the muscles running up the back of your leg. To do so, lay flat on your back. Bend your knee, then bring your thigh back and hug it to your chest. When you feel tension in the back of your leg, stop and hold it there for about ten to 20 seconds. Let go and do the other leg the same way.
  • You'll want to work on your upper body, too. To stretch the muscles of the upper body, simply stand and hold your arms straight out in front of you for about five seconds. Relax and do it again nine more times for a total of ten. Then stretch your arms straight out behind you so that your shoulder blades touch. You will feel the tension. Count to five, holding your arms like that. Do it nine more times.

These stretches are good to do even if you're not getting ready to work out. "The purpose of stretching is basically to improve the range of motion in your joints," Rubin says. You should stretch every day.

It's simple to begin stretching. There are books and videotapes that cover many techniques. You can also order free brochures from The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org). Just remember, stretching is one workout that demands no pain, and offers great gain.

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