Woman stretching her leg before exercising

Stretching Exercises

Are you ready to give stretching a shot? Here are two basic stretches to help you get started. Try holding each for at least 15 seconds and repeating them two or three times a day.

Once you've mastered these stretches, visit your local library or bookstore or cruise the Internet to find more stretching exercises.

  • Standing hamstring stretch.

    Set your right leg on an elevated surface no more than 18 inches high, and keep your toes pointed toward you. Rest your hands on your right thigh.

    Bend forward from your hips, lowering your chest toward your right knee. Make sure your back is straight, and don't bend your knees. Hold the stretch when you feel tension in your lower calf or hamstring. Repeat with your left leg.

  • Lower back stretch.

    Grab on to a stable surface such as the back of a chair. Without bending your knees, use the surface for support to lean forward from your hips. Keep your back straight by holding your head up and looking forward. You should feel this stretch at the back of your legs. As this exercise gets easier, try it with your ankles crossed, keeping both feet flat on the floor.