Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 12—Staying Active with Kidney Disease

How do I become more flexible? Any activity where you stretch and move your joints can help you to be more flexible. Here are some simple stretches you can do at home, or any time you have a few minutes:

Neck stretch

Neck Stretch (neck)

  • Sit or stand up straight. Look straight ahead.
  • Slowly lower your right ear toward your right shoulder. Bring your head back up and lower your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat. Drop your chin to your chest and slowly roll your chin across your chest until your left ear reaches your left shoulder. Repeat.
  • Lift up your chin until you are looking straight ahead. (Do not tilt your head back!)
Arm/hand stretch

Arm/Hand Stretch (hands and wrists)

  • Sit or stand up straight.
  • Stretch your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Stretch out all your fingers, then make a fist and stretch out your fingers again. Repeat.
  • Keep your arms stretched out and slowly make small circles with your wrists. First clockwise, then counterclockwise.
Shoulder shrug & rotation

Shoulder Shrug & Rotation (shoulders, upper back, and chest)

  • Stand or sit up straight.
  • Shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Hold. Lower and repeat.
  • Make forward circles with your right shoulder. Then with your left.
  • Make backward circles with your right shoulder. Then with your left.
Chest & upper-back stretch

Chest & Upper-Back Stretch (shoulders, upper back, and chest)

  • Stand or sit up straight.
  • Put your hands on your shoulders with your elbows out to the side. Make circles with your elbows. First forward, then back.
  • Stop circling and touch your elbows together in front of your chest.
  • Open your elbows out again and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Feel the stretch across your chest. Repeat.
Side stretch

Side Stretch (sides)

  • Stand or sit up straight.
  • Reach your arms over your head and stretch up toward the ceiling.
  • Reach over your head and lean to your right side. Feel the stretch.
  • Come back up straight and reach over your head and lean left. Repeat.
Single knee-pull

Single Knee-Pull (lower back and back of thigh)

  • Sit up straight.
  • Bend over, grab your left knee with both hands, and pull it toward your chest.
  • Tip your chin to your chest and try to touch your forehead to your knee. Go as far as you comfortably can. Hold.
  • Lower your left knee and repeat the exercise with your right knee.
Leg stretch

Leg Stretch (front and back of leg, and ankle)

  • Sit up straight with your feet on the floor.
  • Grasp the seat of the chair for balance.
  • Slowly raise your right leg until it is straight out in front of you.
  • Point your toes, then bend your ankle and slowly bring your toes back toward you. Repeat.
  • Point again and slowly circle your ankle. First circle to the right a few times, then to the left.
  • Bend your knee and slowly lower your foot to the floor. Repeat with your other leg.
Calf stretch

Calf Stretch (lower leg)

  • Place your hands on the back of a chair for balance and stand up straight.
  • Step back with your right leg; press your right heel into the floor.
  • Bend your front leg slightly and feel the stretch in your right calf.
  • Bend your back knee slightly and feel the stretch in your right heel. Hold.
  • Relax and repeat on the other side.

Here are some other ideas for ways to become more flexible. Check off any that sound like they might work for you:

Swimming pool exercises
Tai Chi
Stretching along with a video
Range-of-motion (ROM) dance
Washing windows
Painting a wall
Changing the sheets on a bed
Dancing (any type)
Cleaning out a closet
Hanging laundry on a line
Fixing a car
Washing and waxing a car

Page 13 of 26 | Further reading