Keep your body moving 91
To stretch a muscle:
1. Find a position where you feel secure and are not likely to fall.
The stretch should be gentle. It should not
hurt. For example, to stretch your lower
back, lie down on a mat with your
face up. Bend your knees and
pull both legs toward your
chest as far as you can without
2. Hold your body in this position, while you count slowly to 30 (or
count to 10 three times). Do not bounce or move your body back
3. Remember to breathe while you are stretching. If the stretch starts to
hurt, try moving the part you are stretching so that the stretch is more
gentle. If this does not stop the pain, try a different position.
Women with limited movement may have to experiment to stretch
certain muscles. Sometimes, you may need another person to help
you. If someone else helps you stretch, make sure they move
the muscle slowly. Then, you can tell them to stop when you
feel a stretch.
Some people like to put ice, or a warm cloth or towel, or a
heat pack (if available) on their muscles before stretching. You
can try this yourself to see if it makes your body feel better.
Many women with tight muscles stretch every morning before
they start the day’s work, so they do not hurt as much during the
day. At night, they stretch again to help sleep better and to have
less pain after a long day.
Other women find they can stretch a muscle while doing some
other task. If you can, find ways to include stretching in your
Sana’s leg is paralyzed
from polio. While
she prepares food,
she stretches her
leg to prevent it
from getting locked
into one position (a
Maria has cerebral palsy. She is stretching her
muscles at the same time as she is doing her daily
work. The rock keeps her legs apart, allowing her
to stretch the muscles inside her legs while she
works. This helps to prevent muscle spasms. She
keeps her back as straight as she can while she
stretches her arms, legs and neck.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007