Pregnant women are among certain people who suffer from leg cramps more than the general population. Water retention, lack of blood circulation and exercise may lead to this condition. Stretching the legs can help with leg cramps and other conditions such as arthritis, as well as help build muscle resistance and flexibility. Leg stretches can also help a person prepare for running, walking and other leg exercises by stretching the ligaments. There are different ways that people can stretch their legs in order to keep their legs strong.
You can find your calf just below the knee at the back of each leg. An easy way to stretch your calf is by doing it in a sitting position. Have a towel, leather belt or thick rope ready to aid you in stretching your calf. First, sit with your feet in front of you so that they are flat on the floor. Then hold a towel, belt or rope with one end of each hand to form a loop. Position the loop under one foot and pull your foot toward you by pulling the loop with both hands. Hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds, put down your foot and release the loop. Repeat the steps with the other leg. Repeat the process eight times while alternating each leg.
The hamstring is a group of muscles and tendons located behind the knees and thighs. There are different ways to do the hamstring stretch. One way is to sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Extend your arms and reach forward without bending your knees. Bend forward at the waist to reach your toes. Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position, relax and then repeat at least eight times.
Another way to stretch your hamstring is to sit on the floor with one leg out straight. Bend your knee on the other leg and position your sole against your opposite inner thigh. Extend your arm forward to reach your toes without bending your knee. Use your waist to bend forward as far as possible. Hold this position for 10 seconds, return to the starting position to relax. Do this step on the opposite leg, and then repeat eight times, alternating each leg.
A third way to stretch your hamstring is to stand in front of a wall. Position yourself 1 foot away from a wall and place your hands flat on the wall at shoulder height. Make sure to position your hands so they are shoulder-width apart. Take a step back with one leg while you push into the wall, making sure to keep your back straight. Press your heels into the floor and hold this position for 10 seconds. Return to the position and follow the same steps with the other leg. Repeat the procedure eight times, alternating each leg.
Standing Quad Stretch
The group of muscles located in front of the thigh is your quadriceps. The most common way to stretch the quadriceps is by doing the standing quadriceps (quad) stretch. Start by standing straight with your feet together. Hold onto a flat surface such as a desk or back of a chair to help hold your balance. Bend one knee backward and lift up and hold your ankle with one hand as close as possible to your buttocks. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Return to standing position, and then repeat the steps with the opposite leg. Repeat eight times, alternating each leg.