Now that everyone is stretching their hamstrings, right? (Ed. Note: see Fitness, Sept. 2013 issue) It’s time to stretch your calf muscles, which are attached to the hamstrings. As a tennis player from years ago, I tore both my calf muscles. As I was running to the net in a tournament doubles match I heard a gunshot. Actually, it was the pop of one of my calf muscles. Back then before MRIs and all the other medical improvements, the ER staff said, “Yep you tore something. Here are crutches; walk on your toes for six weeks, then try walking heel-toe as usual.” That was it. Today, I stretch my calf muscles many times during the day. It’s easy and you can do it anywhere. Here are a few ways to get those pesky, tight calf muscles to relax, but DO NOT hang your heels off a step and bounce up and down. Good chance you’ll tear something.
Stretch #1 Point your toe on the floor behind you. Pull your shoe laces toward you (don’t really move your foot). The idea is to stretch the front of your shin first.
Stretch #2 Place your toes against a wall with a straight leg. Move your whole body forward until you feel a stretch in the calf.
Stretch #3 If you can get on your knees with your shins and feet on the floor, sit back toward your heels, stretching the shins.
Stretch #4 Sit on the floor or on a chair with leg straight out in front of you. Pull your toes toward your nose.
Take care of your muscles and your muscles will take care of you.