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Flexibility exercises

These flexibility exercises can be done at home to help improve your health and mobility.

Don't worry if you haven't done much for a while – the exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and keep some water handy. Build up slowly and 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

A man looks straight, then left, then right

Improves 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 3 rotations on each side.

Neck stretch

A man sitting pulls his left shoulder down with his right hand and tilts his head left

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

A man stands straight, hands by his side, he then slides his left hand downwards and then his right

Helps restore flexibility to the lower back.

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides.
  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 perform 3 on each side.

Calf stretch

A man stands with his hands and his right foot bent against a wall, his left leg is straight at a 45 dgree angle backwards and his foot is flat on the floor.

Good for loosening tight calf muscles.

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

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

page last reviewed: 02/04/2020
next review due: 02/04/2023