House Calls

SPR 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { spring 2019 } 19 Stretching is a low-intensity exercise that, for some, is an afterthought of a workout regimen—if even considered at all. Yet this humble form of movement is paramount to the body's ability to function properly and stay free of injury, says Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated sports medicine doctor Kenneth Caldwell. "Flexibility—which can be increased by stretching—is critical to help protect a muscle from injury," he says. MAKE IT COUNT Stretch It Out ➊ Hamstrings: Put the heel of one leg on a chair, bench, or step and bend at your hips. Keep your back straight and bring your upper body toward your thigh. Try to keep this leg straight. You can touch your knee, shin, or toes. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and switch sides. ➋ Calves: Stand a few inches away from a wall, ledge, or step. With one foot, rest your toes on the wall, keeping your heel on the floor and leg straight. Flex the foot and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. SIMPLE STRETCH CIRCUIT: PERFECT FORM: ➌ Upper back: Reach your hands together in front of your body with thumbs pointed down. Round your shoulders and reach forward. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. ➍ Triceps: Raise your right arm over your head with elbow pointing up. Gently pull down on the elbow with your opposite arm and lean toward that side. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and switch sides. ➎ Biceps and chest: Reach your arms behind your back and clasp hands. Slightly raise arms and gently pull them away from your body. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Dr. Caldwell recommends engaging in five to 10 minutes of active stretching (meaning you tighten or relax your own muscles rather than having another person or a machine do so, which is known as passive stretching) both before and after a workout. Stretching before helps prime the body for exercise; doing so afterward aids in muscle recovery and reduces soreness. Don't skip a major muscle group. Tightness in one area can wreak havoc elsewhere in the body. For example, tight hamstrings can affect your posture and back health, says Dr. Caldwell. And tightness in your heel cord—where the calf muscle attaches to the Achilles tendon—can throw off your gait, increasing your likelihood for a foot injury. For a proper stretch, activate the opposing muscle group. "For example, if your biceps are sore, engage your triceps, which will relax and stretch your biceps," Dr. Caldwell explains. A regular stretching practice doesn't require a trip to a yoga studio—or even an exercise mat. Keep it simple (read: doable) with this full-body stretch circuit provided and demonstrated by Roper St. Francis Healthcare exercise specialist Amy Levine. P H O T O G R A P H S ( S T R E T C H E S ) B Y A L E E C E K I N G S L E Y - T A Y L O R

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