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Stretches for Walking/Running (or just stretches for counteracting sitting)

There are two types of stretching: dynamic and static. Dynamic stretches are where the muscles being stretched stay moving. Static stretching means the muscles being stretched are not in motion and are being held in a position. Modern exercise science promotes the use of dynamic stretching before exercise and static stretching after exercise. You never want to stretch cold muscles. Static stretches can be used before exercise, but only if you have done some type of a cardio warm-up for at least five minutes.



  1. Heel Raises & Rolls

Stand with your toes pointed forward and feet slightly apart. Slowly lift your heels up off the ground and raise yourself onto your toes, then lower back to the ground. Do 30 repetitions. Do same move again except making it a rolling motion in which you roll up onto your toes and then roll back onto your heels (rock your feet back and forth).  Do 30 reps of the rolls.

  1. Ankle Circles

Shift your weight to one leg and raise one foot off the ground. Point your toes forward and rotate your foot at the ankle. Gently circle your foot right for designated repetitions and then circle it left. Repeat for other foot.  Do 2 sets of 10 reps in each direction for each foot.

  1. Knee Hugs

Stand steady on both legs. Bring one knee up towards your chest. Grab the raised knee with both hands and pull it as close to your chest as possible. Quickly release the knee and return your foot to the ground. Bring the other knee up and repeat. Continue to repeat hugging knees to your chest alternating legs back and forth. Do 20 repetitions for each leg.

  1. Good Mornings

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Bend forward at the waist, keeping the back straight and legs slightly bent at the knees. Bend forward as far as possible while maintaining a straight back. The ideal position is your back parallel to the ground, but bend only as far as you can. Raise back to standing straight when you have either reached parallel or can no longer maintain a straight back. Do 25 repetitions.

  1. Arm Circles

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Lift both arms straight out to the sides until arms are parallel to the ground. Rotate your arms in a circular motion forward for designated reps, and then rotate arms backwards for designated reps.  Do 15 circles in each direction.

  1. Standing Torso Twists

Stand with feet apart, rotate your torso 90 degrees to the right, so that you’re facing the right side with your upper body while your feet and legs still face forward. Lead with your shoulder. Hold for a second, tighten your abs, and then return to facing forward.  Repeat on the same side for designated reps and then do the same thing on the left side.  Do 15 twists on each side.



  1. Leg Swings

Holding on to something sturdy, if necessary for balance, shift weight to one leg. Swing other leg backwards and forwards without letting foot touch or scrape the ground. Do 15 swings on each leg. Then swing each leg from side to side and do 15 swings on each leg. 

  1. Foot Scrapes

Stand tall, trying to avoid leaning forward, and kick your leg behind you while scraping the ball of your foot (shoe) on the ground as though trying to remove mud from the bottom of your shoe. Keep your leg straight with each kick backwards.  Do 10 to 15 reps on each side.

  1. Shirt Pulls

Cross your arms at the forearms in front of your waist. Raise your arms as though you are pulling on a shirt hem and trying to pull the shirt over your head. Stand up tall as your hands rise into the air.  Lower arms and keep shoulders back as you lower. Do 10 times. Repeat this move during walk.



  1. Calf Stretch

Take a big step forward with your right foot until your left foot is 1½ to 2 feet behind your body.  Keep forward leg bent. Keeping your rear leg fairly straight but not locked in position, place the heel of this foot on the ground. You should feel a stretch down the calf muscle of the leg behind you.  Keep your upper body vertical and straight; do not bend forward.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds or longer if you are particularly tight in this area. Repeat with other leg.

  1. Hamstring Stretch

Place one leg in front of you and prop the heel of your foot on a waist high or slightly lower, stable object and lean forward from the hips reaching arms towards toes of foot that is elevated. If you’re able to touch your toes pull on them slightly to add some additional stretch.  Hold stretch for 30 seconds or longer if you are particularly tight in this area. Repeat with other leg.

  1. Quadriceps Stretch

While holding onto a stable object, if necessary, stand tall and bend your right knee, bringing your foot toward your butt. Keeping your left knee slightly bent, grasp your right ankle and slowly pull your leg back, bringing your foot as high as comfortable. Keep the knee of the leg bent behind you pointed down and close to the other knee. Hold stretch for 30 seconds or longer if you are particularly tight in this area. Repeat with other leg.

  1. Shoulder Stretch

Cross right arm over your chest. Place your left hand on your upper arm and pull arm in tight to chest.   Be sure to keep shoulders down and do not pull at the elbow. Hold stretch for 30 seconds or longer if you are particularly tight in this area. Repeat with other arm.


There are many good stretches that can be done. These are just a few.  If you have any particular areas that are consistently tight, focus on stretches for those areas.

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