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Staying flexible is essential for maintaining good muscles and joints throughout your life. Physical therapists will tell you that it's greatly to your advantage, whether you're young or old, that you should do daily stretching exercises. Not stretching can lead to arthritis and other muscle and joint ailments as you age. Here are some stretching exercises you can do insure proper muscle and joint health. It's recommended that you choose a particular time each day during which you can do these exercises in order to make it habitual.

• Neck Stretches. Move your neck from side to side. Turn your head slowly first one way then the other. Be careful not to jerk your neck, but simply pull it slightly and firmly.
• Shoulder stretch. Hold one shoulder with one of your hands. Then push your shoulder back. Then repeat the exercise with the other shoulder. Another shoulder stretch includes rotating your shoulders at the same time. Roll them forward and down and back around in a circular motion. Then rotate your shoulders in the opposite direction.
• Chest stretch. Stand with your back about a foot from a wall. Put one hand behind you and hold it straight against the wall. Lean onto that hand to stretch your chest. Stretch the other side of your chest by doing the same thing with your other hand.
• Back stretches. Stand with your knees bent and your head looking to the ground. Put your hands on your knees. Lower yourself close to the ground then push yourself back up. Another good back stretch... sit on the floor with your legs fully extended in front of you. Point your toes forward. Lunge your arms toward your feet as far as you can then pull back. Do this exercise several times.
• Leg stretching. Stand facing a wall and fully extend your arms so your palms are flat against the wall. Keep one of your legs straight and tight. Bend the knee of your other leg slightly and push against the wall. The object is to stretch your calf muscles. Do the same with the other leg.