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Slowing up Create Family Fun With a Summer Bucket List Page 1 Take a Deep Breath Page 2 Are All Green Foods the Same? Zucchini Salad With Toasted Hazelnuts Page 3 2 Stretches to Improve Your Balance Page 4 I nside T his I ssue
2 S tretches Y ou S hould D o E very D ay F or B etter B alance and F lexibility
Your fitness routine is likely centered on building strength, tone, and endurance. But what about your balance? As American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified trainer Robbie Ann Darby points out, improving your balance benefits everything you do. By improving your flexibility through stretching, you’ll be able to master the transitions between exercises and develop the power you need for better balance. Here are two essential stretches you can incorporate into your everyday routine. Foot stretch Our feet carry us every day, and when they’re tight, our balance can be affected. Help ease foot tension with this stretch (which is also great for anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis): Kneel on the floor, arranging your legs under you so that your shins and the tops of your feet are on the floor and your glutes are resting on the bottoms of your feet. Maintain an upright posture. Raise yourself slightly, pick up your heels, and tuck your toes under. Slowly ease your weight back over your feet so that your glutes are resting on your heels and your toes are stretched. This can be an intense stretch, so ease into it. If it’s too much right now, start by sitting in a comfortable position with one foot in your lap. Gently pull back on your toes until you feel a stretch. Hold for one minute.
Calf Stretch Your calf muscles can limit your ability to place your feet flat on the ground while doing lunges, squats, and other movements. If your calves are tight, stability can be difficult. To stretch your calves, stand facing a wall and put your left foot behind you, toes facing straight ahead. Lean forward, keeping your heel on the ground and using the wall for stability, until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30–60 seconds, then switch sides. Try adding these stretches to your routine 3–5 days a week, building up to once per day, every day. If you’re experiencing balance issues or are concerned about falling, physical therapy can help. Whether you experience balance challenges related to aging or an inner ear issue, physical therapists can show you how to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility relative to balance — and make it fun in the process! Contact your local PT team to find out how they can help.
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