Touch your toes

While I presume most of you are wonderfully supple and flexible, I am not. Even when I was much younger, I could not touch my toes - and that has not changed over the intervening years.

However, I did come across a little trick that can get you closer to your toes, if not actually touching them.

Bend over to try and touch your toes. Don't strain yourself. While bent over, take a deep breath. As you exhale you will notice that your finger tips get closer to your toes. You can repeat this exercise a few times and see if you can reach your toes.

It takes me four sets of inhale / exhale to get me to touch my toes. I can feel the muscles at the back of my legs straining, but no pain.

WARNING: use your common sense, don't hurt yourself. If you are in pain, stop. If you have difficulty breathing, stop. If you are faint or dizzy, stop. If you lack common sense, then definitely don't start. If you are prone to be litigatious, don't even think about starting, just move onto the next blog.


Barbara said…
I share your inability to touch your toes. I keep hoping with enough yoga that this will change, but no luck so far. I will experiment with your trick!
Steve said…
Richard, my friend. It's 1am and I tried your little trick but no, no, no luck here. There's still a mile to go!
freckled-one said…
It stretches the muscles in my legs to an uncomfortable point of pain but I can touch my toes. I certainly don't stretch enough.
I can not do this either! I'm 5' 9" but most of my height is in my legs..guess the length of my arms can't match! But I can reach the highest cupboards and people are always asking me to get things down for them!
Richard said…
matt: but did you at least get closer to your toes?

freckled-one: good for you!

barbara: I am pretty tall too (somewhere between 6' and 6'1" - notwithstanding friends who claim I am over 6'2"). But, like I asked Mattias, did you get closer?

There is a reason why this works, but I have forgotten it. It was in a book of science experiments I read once.
It might be that when you exhale, you contract your abdominals and you reflexly inhibit your back muscles. When you try to touch toes you stretch out hamstrings and back muscles so they naturally try to resist.
(Just what my husband, a chiropractor, thought might be the reason.)
busybee said…
hmmn... I never realise that touching one's toes is that difficult.

For I didn't exercise for years, yet I could still touch my toes with my palms esily without any special breathing excercise. Maybe my hands are longer?

I guess Richard's breathing exercise method should work for anyone, unless there are physical hinderances.

Just my thoughts. :)
KL said…
I like your warning :-D :-D - having a big laugh out of it.
Richard said…
MOI: Maybe I will run across the experiment again and rediscover the answer. I think (but I may be completely wrong) that it had to do with being able to empty your lungs more when you were bent over and applying pressure to the diaphram.

bee: I am so jealous, you can put your palms onthe floor. Aack! I am way too stiff.

kl: Hey, I don't want to get into any trouble.
Gotta love the disclaimer - no one can blame you if they strain themselves, Richard!
Richard said…
run around paris: perhaps they are responsible, but a lot of litigation is based on silly ideas of culpability (remember the case of McDonald's and the hot coffee, McDonald's was found liable for selling hot coffee that someone spilled on themselves).

My brother explained to me (he works as an insurance claims adjuster) that liability is a pretty much no win situation. If you have something that is potentially dangerous (say a speed bump) and you fail to warn people then you are liable because you provided something dangerous and did not wanr people about it. However, if you do warn people abou tit, then you are still liable because you knew there was a danger.
tin-tin said…
wow! really? hmmm... let me try that later at home. i never had been able to reach my toes. i hope i can do that now :)

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