7 Head to Toe Stretches for Nurses and Nursing Students

stretches-for-nurses-Northeastern-UniversityUse these stretches for nurses to recharge your body during a busy nursing shift.

For Northeastern accelerated nursing students, clinical rotations and nursing shifts can being tiring for both the body and mind. When you’re on your feet for hours at a time caring for patients, it is essential you take care of yourself, too. Pause for a few moments throughout your shift to collect yourself and use these seven stretches for nurses. Your hard-working muscles will thank you.

Stretching increases your blood circulation, allowing oxygen-rich blood to rebuild your cells and refuel your brain and body. Stretching also flushes out oxygen depleted cells and toxic waste that can cause muscle soreness and poor circulation. Furthermore, it helps prevent injuries like pulled or torn muscles. Being mindful of this will ensure your body has the endurance necessary to carry out a busy nursing shift.

The following stretches are easy to do and can be done daily to re-energize your body and mind from head to toe.

nurse side stretch

Stretch Your Neck

Bring both arms behind your back and grab your left wrist with your right hand. Gently pull your left arm downward towards the right as you tilt your head to the right, so you feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for ten seconds, then alternate sides.

Stretch Your Arms and Shoulders

Extend your arms over your head and grasp the elbow of your right arm with your left hand and gently pull the elbow behind your head very slowly and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on your other arm.

Stretch Your Lower Back and Hamstrings

Sit straight up on the ground with your right leg extended straight and your left leg bent at the knee. Using your hands to support you on both sides, cross your left foot over your right thigh above the knee and place it on the ground. Place your right elbow on your left knee to control your leg. With your left hand planted on the ground behind you, slowly turn your head and rotate your upper body to look over your left shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds, release slowly, and then repeat on your other leg.

stretches for nurses

Stretch Your Hips

Stand straight up and bend your right leg back toward your rear and take a hold of your right foot with your left hand, using a wall to balance if needed. Pull your foot towards your buttocks and feel the stretch in your quadriceps and hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then alternate legs.

Stretch Your Legs

nurse stretching

While seated on the floor, extend one leg straight out from your body. If you can reach your toes, pull them back toward your shin as far as you can and hold the foot dorsiflexed for 10 seconds. If you can’t reach your toes, lean forward and reach as far as possible toward your toes, while flexing your foot back and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on each leg.

Stretch Your Calves

Stand one to two feet away from a wall with your toes pointed toward the wall and rest your forearms against the wall with your head resting on your hands. Bend one leg and place your foot ahead of the other with your big toe touching the wall, leaving your other leg straight. Slowly move your hips forward until you feel the stretch in the calf of your straight leg, making sure your heel of that leg does not leave the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, making sure not to bounce, then alternate legs.

nurse stretching

Stretch Your Feet and Ankles

While sitting on the ground, grasp one leg, elevating it off the ground. Take hold of your foot and gently rotate your ankle clockwise and counter-clockwise 10 to 20 times in each direction. Repeat on both ankles.

Let us know how these stretches for nurses work for you.

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