Stretching before and after exercising is a crucial part of injury prevention. According to Healthline, “While professionals disagree over whether it’s better to stretch before or after a workout, most doctors recommend stretching as part of an exercise routine.” Although not everyone may seem flexible, it is something that can be achieved by a few weeks of stretching. The stretches explained below can improve your flexibility and can loosen your muscles/increase joint mobility before working out. Stretching out your muscles, along with an everyday dynamic warm-up, before your daily exercise is key for your body to stay safe and healthy.
1. Lower Legs Routines:
Foot Against the Wall
Source: Prehab Exercises
Place your foot against the wall, with the heel on the ground and your hands, pressing on the wall. Then, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the calf. Lean forward according to your comfort level, and be sure to alternate feet. This is mostly beneficial for running.
Stair-Step Calf Raise:
Source: Healthy Children
Move both feet to the edge of the stair where your toes and the ball of the foot are the only parts on the stairs. Slowly and gently raise up and back down and comfortably raise up again, feeling the stretch in your calf. This is mostly beneficial for running.
Source: Vector Images
Using a chair or table to balance, hold one foot up and make a circle with the ankle, stretching it in each direction to its full capacity. Make sure to complete on both feet. This is mostly beneficial for dancing.
Achilles Tendon Stretch:
Source: Medical News Today
Standing around a foot away from the wall, place one foot in front and put your hands out to the wall while leaning forward. Make sure to press the heel of the back foot into the ground to feel the stretch. This is mostly beneficial for running and dancing.
2. Upper Legs Routines:
Forward and Side Lunge:
Source: Women’s HealthSource: Women’s Health
Take a large step forward and lower yourself down until both legs form a ninety degree angle for a forward lunge. To perform a side lunge, step to the side with one foot and drop your hips down while keeping the other leg straight. Be sure to complete on both sides. This is mostly beneficial for sports such as: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, etc.
Cross-Over and Touching Toes:
Source: Cornell Blogs
Cross one leg over the other and reach down to try and touch your toes. Keep your legs straight, and reach as far down as possible. Make sure to alternate feet. This is mostly beneficial for running and sports such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, etc.
Standing Quad Stretch:
Source: Alo Moves Blog
While holding onto a chair or table with one hand, grab the leg on the same side as the free hand and pull it towards your back. Pull towards you as far as feels comfortable and repeat on both sides. This is mostly beneficial for running and all types of sports.
Seat Straddle Lotus/Butterfly Stretch:
While sitting down, pull both legs with the knees facing out and touch the soles of the feet together. Push your knees down as far as comfortable and slightly lean forward. This is mostly beneficial for running and dancing.
3. Arm Routines:
Stretch your arms out to each side and then bring both back to the center of your body, placing one underneath the other with your hands pointing straight up. Repeat on both sides. This is mostly beneficial for lifting and playing sports such as: lacrosse or field hockey/ice hockey.
Bring your hands behind your back, bend your elbows, and place your hands together with the fingertips pointed at the ground. Then, rotate your hands so they are facing up. This is mostly beneficial for lifting and yoga.
Source: Free Trainers
Place your hand near your opposite ear with the elbow pointing straight up and directly above your head. Then put the other arm on top of the elbow, gently pulling it in that direction. This is mostly beneficial for lifting and other sports such as: field hockey/ice hockey or lacrosse.
4. Torso Routines:
While sitting down, place both arms forward and make sure they are pointing straight out. Then lower your head in line with your arms. This is mostly beneficial for throwing, lifting, and yoga.
Rest one arm on the back of a chair while sitting down with one leg over the other. Then twist your upper body in the direction of the arm on the chair as far as it feels comfortable. Be sure to alternate hands. This is mostly beneficial for yoga and dancing.
Stretching and improving your flexibility is a big component to physical health and should be included in our daily routines. Yoga is another great way to incorporate stretching into our lives because it is relaxing and it helps raise your flexibility limit. Flexibility is proven to improve mobility, posture, muscle coordination, muscle soreness, and injury prevention. Because it has such a positive effect, these routines for each body part, should take part in our daily lives.