I'm Calf Stretching for my neck you say? I know that sounds a bit peculiar. We tend to think of body problems as being isolated. We aren't necessarily aware of the forces we are creating by how we stand, sit and walk.
We spend a lot of time on Calf Stretch because the forces created by lower leg tension create body wide problems.
Next time you are calf stretching (and let's face it that's at least twice a day while you are brushing your teeth right?) - try turning sideways to your mirror and take a bigger step than you usually do - making sure to keep your pelvis back. Did you notice that your whole upper body developed a forward tilt?
Now look down to your feet again - it wasn't that big of a step but when you kept your hips back where they should be (for optimal bone health and all the many other benefits we began to talk about last week) - your upper body responded by jerking forward. The muscular tensions in the calf can cause an almost whiplash effect in the upper body when we step out with tight resistant legs. We are generally unaware of the accelerations occurring in the neck with each step (although we might notice the headache of stiff and sore neck and shoulders that tend to go along with it).
But hang on....I don't walk around with a 1/2 dome under the ball of my foot. Well that's good, because that would be really weird. We calf stretch in this way because it mimics optimal walking. That means being able to utilise posterior push off - and you can't really engage the muscles of the back of the legs effectively when they are so tight you can barely get your heel to the ground.