Tightness in the hamstrings can actually cause a wide range of problems and pain from the hips all the way down to the feet. Because hamstrings are a naturally weak muscle in women, it is even more important that we pay attention to them and keep them stretched. By starting a daily routine of the following stretches you will be able to increase the strength of your hamstrings and prevent injury to them, as well as the thigh, knees, calves, ankles and the ligaments and tendons of the feet.
- For the first exercise you’ll start by sitting on the floor with you legs straight out in front of you, then extend your arms as you bend at the waist, being sure to keep your knees straight. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then release and relax. Repeat until you start to feel a little looser in the hamstrings.
- The next exercise is begun in a seated position on the floor, only this time you’ll only keep one leg out straight in front of you. Bend your other leg so that the sole of that food is resting against the opposite inner thigh. Then, extend your arms forward, just like in the previous exercise and bend forward as far as you comfortably can. Hold the pose for 10 seconds then release and relax, switch the legs and repeat.
- To begin the next exercise, stand with your right foot crossing over your left. Then, lower your forehead to your knees. Be sure to bend at the waist in a slow and controlled way while you keep both of your knees straight. Hold the pose for 10 seconds then release and relax. Then, switch the leg positions and repeat the exercise.
- This next exercise will require you to have an open area of wall space. Start by standing with one foot to the wall (your toes can touch the wall or be a couple of inches from it). Then, place your hands flat on the wall about shoulder height, and about shoulder width apart. Next, step back with the other leg as you push into the wall. Be sure to keep your back straight and your heels pressing down into the floor. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then switch leg positions and repeat.
While it is a good idea to make these stretches part of your daily routine no matter what type of other activities you do, it is even more important for women who sit for long periods during the day to incorporate these stretches. This is because people who spend a lot of time sitting tend to have much tighter hamstrings than those who don’t.