Why should you do stretches before working out? Stretching improves your muscles’ range of motion and can help prevent injury. Many people use stretching as a warm-up and a cool-down, but they use different stretches. Before a workout, you use stretches and movements that mimic your workout to get the muscles gently warmed and ready for the strenuous workout. There are several types of stretches. Dynamic stretches move your body similar to the exercise you’ll do. It is a pre-workout stretch. Static stretching, like toe touching, is a post-workout stretch while your muscles are warm and flexible.
The easiest stretch to warm the muscles for a run is a lunge walk.
Lunge walking is one method of stretching and warming muscles for a run. You clap your hands in front with arms extended, then swing them backward or shake them as you lunge walk. Just walking may be enough stretching to warm the muscles. You can twist at the waist with extended arms, moving your upper body from side to side. Stand with your feet wide. Extend your arms and fingers to the side. Bend your body to one side. When the fingers on that side point to the ground and the other fingers point straight in the air, straighten your body and bend to the other side.
If you’re about to do a full-body workout, you need full-body stretching.
You need to work all areas of your body when a full-body workout is on the schedule. Combine two warm-up stretches by riding a stationary bike while making arm circles. You don’t have to win any races, so don’t pedal at top speed. Just go slowly and build intensity as you go. The arm circles stretch the upper body, and the pedaling stretches and warms the lower body. After a few minutes, reverse the direction of your arm circles.
Yoga poses can help you get ready for a workout.
Improving blood flow to the muscles, preparing the heart for the upcoming effort, and improving your range of motion are all benefits of pre-workout stretches. Yoga poses can provide those things. A few excellent poses include cat-cow, donkey kick, child’s pose, downward dog into a runner’s lunge, and bird-dog crunch. You can do them all one after another or just choose a few for a warm-up.
- Bodyweight squats can warm your hips, quads, abs, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. Not only do squats warm the muscles, but they also prepare your nervous system for a workout.
- An inchworm is perfect for starting a warm-up. Bend, placing your hands on the floor, and walk them forward until your body is in a push-up position. Do a push-up, then walk your hands back until you’re upright.
- If you’re doing lower body exercises by walking, mix it up by lifting your feet as high as possible. Try to press your thighs to your chest. After a minute, switch to butt kicks during your walk.
- Jumping jacks and jumping rope are good warm-ups. If you have joint issues, instead of jumping during jumping jacks, just step to the side as you clap your hands overhead.
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