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A Simple Stretch Loosens Back, Legs

Karen Voight shares her fitness expertise.

Karen Voight

Los Angeles Times

March 12, 2010

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Here is a very easy, yet amazing stretch that you can do anytime your back and legs feel tight. You'll need a sturdy chair or, if you're outside, you can use a park bench or even a small wall.

-- Karen Voight 1. Stand in front of a chair or bench with your shoulders, hips and toes facing the chair. Inhale, shift your weight to your left leg and place your right foot flat on the seat of the chair. Make sure that your right heel is below your right knee. On an exhale, twist your rib cage, chest and shoulders to the right as far as possible. Check that your hips, knees and toes are still facing the chair. Reach your right hand out at shoulder level, palm facing out, thumb turned up. Place your left hand on your left outer thigh and gently press against it to increase the stretch in your spine. Gaze over your right shoulder while holding this position for three complete breaths. Return to the center and repeat on the other side.

2. Stand in front of a chair or short wall that comes to about hip level. Inhale, shift your weight to your left leg and place your right heel on the backrest of the chair or on top of the wall. On an exhale, twist your ribcage, chest and shoulders to the right as far as possible. Check that your hips, knees and toes are still facing the wall or chair. Reach your right hand out at shoulder level, palm facing out, thumb turned up. Place your left hand on your left outer leg and gently press against it to increase the stretch in your spine. Gaze over your right shoulder while holding this position for three complete breaths. Return to the center and repeat on the other side.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."