In addition to increasing your flexibility, stretching can help loosen stiff muscles and reduce stress. When you stretch, you help lengthen your muscles, reduce tightness and increase the range of motion of your joints. Stretching can also help to reduce pain and increase personal comfort. You can stretch in the morning, in the evening or whenever you have a few moments to spare. If you choose to stretch before exercising, be sure to do a brief warmup first so that your body has a chance to transition into the activity.
Stretch with a Partner
Stretching your legs with a partner can help you achieve the highest level of flexibility. As you relax the leg muscle that you are stretching, your partner gently guides you into the stretch. Once you feel tension in the muscle, signal to your partner to stop. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Next, flex the muscle for a few seconds against the resistance of your partner and then have your partner pull you a little deeper into the leg stretch until you feel tension again. Once you feel the tension, signal to your partner to stop the stretch and relax your legs.
Stretch on Your Own
Using your own body resistance, you can achieve flexibility and increase the range of motion of your legs. You can stretch your leg muscles by walking or jogging. You can also stretch your leg muscles by gently moving into the stretch and holding the position once you feel tension in the muscle for 10 seconds. Once you’ve done that, go into the stretch a little more and hold the new position for 10 seconds. If you’re stretching before a specific sport, be sure to perform stretches that focus on the muscles you’ll be using.
Stretch Using Props
You can use props, such as a wall, a towel or a resistance band to help you stretch your legs. To use the wall to stretch your legs, stand about 3 feet away from a wall and put the palms of your hands flat against the wall. Your hands and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Gently lean your hips slightly forward and bend your knees to stretch your calves. While lying on the floor, you can use a towel or resistance band to stretch your hamstrings. Extend one leg straight and place a towel or resistance band around the arch of the foot. Pull down with the towel or resistance band while you push up with your foot. Be sure to keep the other foot flat on the floor so your leg is bent while doing this stretch. Repeat the stretch using the other foot.