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Flexibility exercises

You can do these flexibility exercises at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don't worry if you have not done much for a while. The exercises are gentle.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water nearby. The exercises are gentle and you can start slowly. Aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.

Try to do these exercises at least twice a week and combine them with:

Neck rotation

man turning head from left to right
Neck rotation

This exercise can improve your neck mobility and flexibility.

  1. Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead.
  2. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat on the right.

Do the exercise 3 times on each side.

Neck stretch

man sitting and slowly tilting head from left to right
Neck stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight neck muscles.

  1. Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.
  2. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

Sideways bend

man standing with arms at his sides and leaning left to right
Sideways bend

This stretch helps to restore flexibility to your lower back.

  1. Stand upright with your arms by your sides and your feet the same width apart as your hips.
  2. Slide your left arm down your side as far as is comfortable. As you lower your arm, you should feel a stretch on the opposite hip.
  3. Repeat with your right arm.

Hold each stretch for 2 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side.

Calf stretch

man standing with hands against wall and pushing one leg back at a time
Calf stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight calf muscles.

  1. Place your hands against a wall for stability. Bend your right leg and step your left leg back at least a foot's distance, keeping it straight. Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Your left calf muscle stretches by keeping your left leg as straight as possible, and your left heel on the floor.
  3. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Do 3 calf stretches on each leg.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

Page last reviewed: 23 February 2023
Next review due: 23 February 2026