Warmups for Walkers
Doing a little warm up before your walk is a good idea because you need to prepare your body for activities, including walking. If youíve just woken up in the morning, take a little time to walk around the house to get the circulation going.
If youíve just come home after a hard dayís work, get something to eat for energy. Then youíre ready for some stretching.
Stretching is an important part of your warm up and warm down. Even after a long walk you should do some stretches to get the taxed muscles back to a normal length. Exercise shortens muscles. Stretching involves elongating the muscles which allows the joint to move more freely. During sleep and after a long workday, the muscles are shortened. Never do any stretch until it hurts. Pain isnít your guide. You want to gently elongate the muscles over a ten minute period with short stretches of a few seconds.
Stand about 2 feet away from a bench and put your left heel on top of it. Keep your hands on your right thigh and bend forward at the hips. So you feel like youíre sinking in on a scissors action. Donít just stretch the one leg that is up. Bend at the hips and donít hunch. Gently lean forward several times then switch to the other leg. Repeat this cycle three times.
Sit on the ground with your legs forward. Cross your left leg over your right knee. Press your right forearm on your right knee while pulling your left leg into you. Do this gently. Twist your waist or torso to the left gently stretching your midsection and waste. Repeat this for the other side of your body.
Sit on the ground with legs straight ahead. Bend your knees but keep your feet together. If the floor is too hard, try a pillow or a piece of carpet under you. Now, rock your upper body forward until you feel a tension in your groin area.
Quadriceps and Knees
The big muscles on the front of your thighs are your quadriceps. Stand in front of a wall with your left hand out to keep your balance. Lift your right foot back and up so you can grab it with your right hand. Pull up slightly and try to straighten your right leg. Do this several times and then switch to the left arm and leg. Donít pull your foot up hard.
These muscles get a good workout so you want to keep them loose even during your walk. Face a wall and lean forward with both hands to keep your balance. Bring your right foot back as far as you can comfortably (1 to 2 feet) then lean forward from your hips into the wall. Keep your upper body and back straight. This is important. Donít just stretch your Achilles tendon alone because it will hurt your foot. By stretching everything as a unit, you avoid injury. Repeat this process for your left leg.
Lie on the floor and bring your knees up. Grasp behind each knee with your hands and pull them toward your shoulders until your hips begin to raise off the floor. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Straighten your legs and repeat the stretch. Do this 5 times.
Stand with the wall just behind you. Reach back with your left hand and place full on the wall surface. Gently turn your head and shoulders to the right. Repeat this process for the right side of your body.