As most people have probably experienced, the calves hold a lot of tension. This can occur because of posture issues, the way people sit, nutritional issues, athletic activities, and clothing. Unfortunately, the calves are also one of the most difficult muscles to adequately stretch and relax on one’s own.
Here are instructions for one stretch that can be very beneficial in that regard and only require a single stair or curb.
1) Stand facing towards the stair or curb with your feet equidistant apart.
2) Place the feet so that the toes and the balls of the feet are on the stair and the heels are hanging over empty space.
3) Slowly flex the calves so that over the course of seven seconds you are slowly contracting the muscles until you are standing on tip toes or as close to that as you can get.
4) Now slowly relax the calves so that the heels move downwards. Continue descending until your heels are below the level of the stairs until you can no longer tolerate the stretch or until you’ve reached the limits of your individual range of motion.
5) Repeat the stretch 3-4 times.
6) Depending on how tight the calves are, consider repeating the stretch multiple times through the day or as needed.
7) Remember to practice slow deep breaths during the entire sequence. If you are holding your breath at any point, stop the stretch. If you were holding your breath because of pain or discomfort, practice the movement so that it is more comfortable.
And there it is. In practice, the whole sequence only takes a minute or two, so finding time to do it shouldn’t be a problem, and it can be done in shoes, socks, or barefoot, making it easy to incorporate at home, work, or out and about. Hopefully this information will help some of the people who are stiff and sore after becoming more active with the return of the warmer weather.