|What it’s good for||All stretches help to lengthen specific muscles, keeping the body in balance, preventing particular muscles from becoming very tight and crampy, and keeping you more flexible. Tight calf muscles can be painful and make it harder to walk properly|
|How often to do it||Daily – several times, if your muscles feel very tight|
|Equipment you’ll need||A wall|
- Stand facing a wall, feet hip-width apart and just about a foot length away from the wall
- Place palms on wall, wide and about shoulder height, for balance support
- Slide one leg backwards away from the wall, until you can only just keep the whole of your foot comfortably on the ground
- Bend your front knee and ease your bottom in towards the wall. As you do this you should feel the calf muscle (back of lower leg) tightening in the leg that you slid backwards
- As soon as you feel the tightness in the back leg, stop and hold steady for the right amount of time (click here for guidelines for stretching), breathing throughout
- Step the back foot forwards to your start position, and repeat with the other leg
♦ Imagine your feet on two parallel railway tracks, and be sure to keep them both on their tracks when you are sliding one leg backwards. This way you will feel more balanced and less precarious as you hold the stretch
♦ You may not need to bend your front knee or slide your bottom very far in order to feel the stretch: stop still as soon as the back leg starts to tighten
♦ Keep breathing throughout!
Cannot do this at all? If you are struggling to feel a stretch in the right place, or feel too unsteady, or if your calf feels painfully tight, try Calf stretch, sitting instead.