Touch your Toes! It is alarming to us the amount of athletes both young and older that can’t touch their toes. It is becoming a much more regular occurrence due to common factors such as sitting all day behind a computer, not stretching and/or general inactivity. If this is you, it’s not the end of the world, but you need to sort it out. Here are a few tip tricks that with consistency can make a big difference in a short amount of time. Why does it matter? Being able to touch your toes with a straight back ensures adequate core control and sufficient flexibility of the hips and hamstrings through basic movements such as running and jumping without adding additional pressure through the lumbar spine. If you are unable to do it then chances are you will be losing energy through movement, increasing the likelihood of injury, and limit you from achieving your true strength potential (fitnessrevolutionleominster.com). Let’s maximise your potential to run, jump and lift by achieving this basic control and flexibility. Let’s measure Firstly, test your hamstring flexibility by placing both feet under the hips; keeping straight legs and a straight back (no flexion) reach down towards the ground as far as you can. Take note of your reach. If you can’t touch the ground, you have flexibility issues. We want to maximise our physical potential and save ourselves injury so let’s sort it out. Let a golf ball be your best friend. When a friend told me about this I was skeptical, that was until I gave it ago myself. Try it yourself and let me know how you go. With bare feet (or socks) place a golf ball under the arch of your foot and very slowly roll the underside of your foot. Add weight/pressure as pain allows. Yes this will hurt, but you don’t want to be in huge amounts of pain so if this is extremely painful back off a little or use a softer ball (Eg. tennis ball). It is possible to hurt the muscles in your feet by rolling too much and too fiercely so make it progressive. From here cover every part of your foot, from under the toes to the heels in the same manner. I recommend you do this for at 2-3 minutes per foot (set a timer). Even after your first session the difference in flexibility can be astounding (1-2 inches), however I recommend you do this every day for at least one week and see what difference it makes. Re-measure Be sure to remeasure so you know if it is working. If you see little or no change (I doubt it!!) assess how much pressure you are applying. What, you don’t have time? Yes you do – this is 4 minutes of your day. Keep a golf ball in the bathroom and roll out when you are brushing your teeth. Heck, take it in the shower with you when you are washing your hair. If you are sitting at a desk roll out (this may take longer in a seated position). Why does it work? When you massage the soles of your feet, you loosen the starting point of a network of connective tissue that runs all the way up your back body to the crown of your head. Not only will this help loosen your hamstrings it may even help other ailments that you have such as plantar fasciitis. So start giving your feet a bit of love and they will love you back. By Marie.