Flexibility exercises

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

Don't worry if you've not done much for a while, these flexibility exercises are gentle and easy to follow.

If you're not very active or not sure how to start, you may want to get the all-clear from a GP before starting.

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 the other routines in this series to help improve strength, balance and co-ordination.

Download this exercise routine as a PDF (772kb)


Neck rotation

This stretch is good for improving neck mobility and flexibility.

A. Sit upright with shoulders down. Look straight ahead.

B. Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder as far as is comfortable. Hold for five seconds and return to the starting position.

C. Repeat on the right.

Do three rotations on each side.


Neck stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight neck muscles.

A. Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.

B. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down.

C. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hold each stretch for five seconds and repeat three times on each side.


Sideways bend

This stretch will help restore flexibility to the lower back.

A. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides.

B. 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.

C. Repeat with your right arm.

Hold each stretch for two seconds and perform three on each side.


Calf stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight calf muscles.

A. 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.

B. The left calf muscle is stretched by keeping the left leg as straight as possible and the left heel on the floor.

C. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Perform three on each side.

Page last reviewed: 26/11/2014

Next review due: 31/08/2017


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