The Home Stretch

Wow the year really flew by! Let’s take a moment to stretch it out. Stretching is a great way to warm up before physical activity and also to cool down after exercise.

Fatigue is one side effect of cancer treatments. Even on days when you are not being very physically active, taking a quick stretch break may give you a jolt of energy. Some cancer patients who require surgery may feel weakness in certain areas of the body. Proper stretching can feel like you are giving your body a mini massage and may offer some relief in areas where the body feels achy.  

Proper stretching can be like a mini massage Click To Tweet

Check out some of our favorite moves below to stretch you out from head to toe.

Head rolls. Roll your head slowly in a circle to the right 3 times. Switch and roll to the left 3 times.

Shoulder rolls. Roll your shoulders to the front 3 times, then roll to the back 3 times.

Arm stretch. Cross your right arm across your body and hook it with your left. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Try not to raise your shoulders. Switch and cross your left arm across your body and hook it with your right arm. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.

Side stretch. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Stretch your right arm up and over to the left side. Return to the center and stretch your left arm up and over to the right side.

Quad stretch. The quadriceps are the tops of the thighs and many people experience tightness in that area. To stretch, stand up and bend your right leg back, grabbing your ankle behind you with the right hand. You can hold onto a wall or table if you feel unstable. Switch sides and repeat on the left.

Glute stretch. Also known as a “figure four stretch,” this stretch involves standing and crossing the right ankle over the left thigh, creating the shape of the number four with your legs. Sit back and stretch. Switch sides. This stretch can also be done sitting in a sturdy chair or on the floor.

Calf and hamstring stretch. Bend both legs, stick your right leg forward slightly, flex your toes and reach toward them. Switch legs and repeat on the left side. You should feel a gentle stretch along the back of your legs.  

Ankle rolls. Roll your right ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise 3 to 5 times each directions. Switch and roll the left ankle.

Now take a big deep breath in and exhale out and give yourself a pat on the back for stretching!

Need to modify the stretches? These stretches can all be modified for sitting in a chair or on a mat. Check out our previous blog post on chair-based exercises for more tips.

Be sure to speak with your physician and heath care team before starting any new exercise regimen or making changes to your current routine.

Want to reminisce on the past year’s physical activity blogs? Click on the links below to check out some of our favorite ways to stay active all year long.

Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient

Starting an Exercise Routine

Get F.I.T.T.

Walking for Exercise

Strength and Resistance Training

Pull Up a Chair for Your Health

Breaking Down the Barriers to Exercising

Bicycling and Cycling

Groove to the Moves with Dance-Based Fitness

Splash into Summer with Water-Based Exercise

Stay Strong with Pilates

Flow with Tai Chi

Get to Know Your Cardio Machines

Holiday Kitchen Fitness Tips

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