|Absolutely, definitely, positively stretch after your walks…|
Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Most people understand that stretching after an intense workout is essential but will walk for 30 minutes or an hour and then just go about their day. Just because it’s not intense doesn’t mean a stretch after isn’t warranted. In fact a quick stretch after a walk is a perfect time to do it as your muscles are warm and ready to get stretched.
I thought I would share with you a quick 4 minute stretch routine that can be done outside from standing (no need to lie on the grass!) immediately after a walk. Each stretch should be held for 30 seconds per side. If you find one area particularly tight feel free to hold for longer or repeat the stretch.
Stretch #1: Calf Stretch
Find yourself a curb or a stair to stand on. Keep your right foot on the stair or curb and slide the left one back until just the ball of your foot is on the edge. Drop your left heel down until you feel a stretch. If your balance is challenged by this, just find a wall or a tree to lean your hands against.
|Stretch #2: Hamstring Stretch|
From standing, take your right leg forward and point your toes to the sky. Start to bend your left knee as you place your hands on your right leg, bending forward at the hips, keeping the chest upright and your hips back.
|Stretch #3: Hip Flexor Stretch|
From standing, step your right leg back and bend your left knee. With your right heel pressed towards the ground, keeping the leg locked straight, press your right hip forward. Keep your lower abs lightly engaged so you feel the stretch in the front of your hip, rather than in your low back.
|Stretch #4: Chest Stretch|
Find yourself a tree or a corner of a wall and place your forearm on it, your elbow should be at shoulder height, or slightly above or below that. Step slightly forward and rotate away from your arm, leaning lightly forward.