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Day 25: Stretch

Stretching can help with flexibility, which can improve your ability to exercise and prevent injury by warming up your muscles. The more you can exercise, the lower your risk for heart disease. Stretching also helps lower your breathing and stress levels, which in turn, can help lower your blood pressure.

It is recommended to stretch for at least five minutes before a work out. You can also take exercise classes that incorporate stretching, including yoga, which may be able to help lower heart disease risk just as much as other low-intensity exercises like walking. Here are four other ways to get in a good stretch from the American Heart Association.

Four Ways to Stretch

  • Chest Stretch
    • Place both hands on the back of your head.
    • For about 20-30 seconds, push your elbows back while squeezing with your upper back until you feel a stretch in your chest.
  • Hamstring Stretch
    • While standing up straight, put one foot up on a low, secure bench, chair or stair step.
    • Keeping your chest high, bend forward from your hips down to your foot. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each leg as you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh or knee.
  • Palm Touch
    • Bend your knees slightly, and try to touch the floor by bending from the waist. Hold for about 10 seconds, and repeat 1-2 times.
    • If you have lower back problems, do this with your legs crossed.
  • Shoulder Rolls
    • Lift your shoulders up toward your ears then shift them backwards in a circular motion, and repeat 5-10 times.
    • You can do this on both shoulders at the same time or alternate between each shoulder.


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