Walking is one of the most popular low-impact exercises around the globe. It’s an excellent way to stay active, boost your mood, and improve overall health. But did you know that incorporating stretches into your walking routine can also increase flexibility, reduce the risk of injury and enhance performance? That’s right! Stretching before or after a walk helps to warm up muscles, improve mobility and circulation, and reduce muscle soreness post-workout. In this blog post, we’ll share with you some of the best stretches for fitness walking that will have you feeling limber and ready to tackle those steps in no time!
What Is Meant By Stretches?
Stretching is a form of physical activity that involves lengthening and contracting the muscles. The primary goal of stretching exercises is to improve range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength.
In fitness walking, stretches are essential for warming up the muscles before starting your walk. They help prepare the body for exercise by increasing blood flow to the working muscles and reducing muscle stiffness or soreness.
Stretching can be done either before or after walking, depending on personal preference. Pre-walk stretching helps prevent injuries during exercise by preparing your joints and muscles for movement. Post-walk stretching helps alleviate any tightness or soreness in your muscles after exercising.
It’s important to note that not all stretches are created equal. There are specific stretches designed for different parts of the body that work best when combined with other exercises such as strength training or cardio workouts.
So if you’re looking to enhance your fitness walking routine, incorporate some targeted stretches into your pre-and post-workout routine!
1st: Calves And Achilles Stretch
Calves and Achilles Stretch is the first type of stretch that you should do before starting your fitness walk. It is an essential stretch that helps to improve flexibility in your lower legs, which are vital for walking.
To perform this exercise, start by standing about arm’s length away from a wall or tree. Place one foot slightly behind the other foot with both feet pointing straight ahead. Next, lean forward towards the wall while keeping your back leg straight and your heel on the ground.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then switch sides to repeat with the other leg. You will feel a slight stretching sensation in your calf muscle and Achilles tendon during this stretch.
It’s important not to overstretch as it can cause injury. So always listen to what your body tells you when doing stretches like these.
By regularly performing Calf And Achilles stretches you can help reduce the risk of developing injuries such as shin splints or plantar fasciitis – common issues among walkers – making it easier for you to maintain an active lifestyle!
2nd: Quad Stretch
The quad stretch is essential for fitness walkers as it targets the quadriceps muscles, which are responsible for extending your leg. This stretch can also help increase flexibility and prevent injuries.
To perform this stretch, stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your right knee, bringing your foot towards your buttocks. Use your hand to hold onto the ankle and gently pull it towards you until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.
Keep your knees close together and avoid arching or leaning forward. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds before switching sides.
Remember to breathe deeply throughout the exercise and listen to your body’s limits. If you experience any pain, release the stretch immediately.
Incorporating quad stretches into your pre-walking routine can improve performance by loosening up tight muscles that may hinder proper form during walking. So add this simple yet effective stretch to get more out of every walk!
3rd: Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch is a fantastic addition to any fitness walking routine, as it targets the muscles located at the back of your thighs. These muscles tend to become tight from excessive walking or running and can limit your range of motion, potentially leading to injuries.
To effectively perform this stretch, begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Then, extend one leg forward while keeping your heel on the ground and your toes pointed upwards. The other leg should remain slightly bent for balance.
Next, gently lean forward from your hips as you reach towards the extended foot with both hands. Be sure not to bend over excessively or hunch your shoulders – maintaining proper posture is crucial during this stretch! Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching legs.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to stretching. Incorporating hamstring stretches regularly into your pre-walk warm-up will help prevent muscle stiffness and improve flexibility in preparation for a satisfying fitness walk experience.
4th: Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor muscles are located in the front of the hips, and they play a crucial role in walking. Tight hip flexors can lead to discomfort or even pain, making it essential to stretch them regularly.
To perform this stretch, start by kneeling on one knee with your other foot flat on the ground in front of you. Keep your back straight and engage your core as you gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching sides.
It’s important not to overdo this stretch – listen to your body and only go as far as feels comfortable for you. Remember that stretching should never be painful; instead, it should feel like a gentle pull on the muscles being stretched.
Regularly incorporating this simple but effective stretch into your fitness walking routine can help prevent injury and improve overall flexibility.
5th: Shin Stretch
The shin stretch is a crucial exercise for walkers, especially those who experience pain or discomfort in their shins. This stretch targets the tibialis anterior muscle located at the front of your lower leg.
To perform this stretch, start by sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Then flex your feet and place your hands on top of them, pressing down gently to create resistance.
Next, slowly point your toes towards the floor while still keeping them flexed. You should feel a gentle stretching sensation in the front of your shins.
It’s important to hold this position for at least 30 seconds before releasing and repeating on the other leg. Repeat this stretch several times throughout your walking routine to help prevent shin splints and other injuries.
Remember that proper form is key when performing any stretching exercise. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements and always listen to your body’s limits. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to increase flexibility and strength in both legs as you continue with fitness walking.
6th: Inner Thighs Stretch
The inner ththightretch is one of the best stretches for fitness walking, as it targets the inner thigh muscles and helps to improve flexibility in this area. To perform this stretch, start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
Next, bring your feet together and bend your knees so that they are pointing outwards. Place your hands on your ankles or shins and gently push down towards the floor until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs.
Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before releasing. Repeat this stretch several times throughout your workout to help prevent injury and improve overall flexibility.
Remember to always listen to your body when performing any type of stretching exercise, and never push yourself too far beyond what feels comfortable. With consistent practice, you can build up both strength and flexibility in your inner thighs over time.
7th: Back Stretch
The back stretch is an essential component of any stretching routine, particularly for fitness walkers. This stretch targets the muscles in your lower and upper back, ensuring they remain flexible and strong throughout your walking workouts.
To perform this stretch, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend forward at the waist while keeping a slight bend in your knees. Reach both hands towards the ground or as far down your legs as you can comfortably go without straining.
Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before slowly rolling back up to a standing position. Repeat the process two to three times for optimal results.
Another variation of the back stretch involves lying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently pull one knee towards your chest using both hands, holding it there for 20-30 seconds before releasing it gently and repeating with the other leg.
Incorporating these stretches into your fitness walking routine will not only help alleviate any existing discomfort but also promote long-term spinal health by maintaining flexibility in those critical areas often subjected to wear during our daily activities.
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Remember always to listen to your body; never push yourself too hard during stretches and consult a professional if you have concerns about specific movements or experience pain when performing them.
Incorporating the best stretches for fitness walking into your routine can significantly improve your flexibility, reduce muscle soreness and lower the risk of injury. These stretches target key areas such as calves, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, shins, and even inner thighs.
Remember to start with a warm-up before engaging in any stretching exercises to avoid potential injuries. Keep each stretch gentle and hold it for at least 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
It’s important to note that everyone’s body is unique so some stretches might work better than others depending on your individual needs. As always, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of the best stretches for fitness walking at your disposal, go ahead and try them out! Incorporate them into your pre or post-walking routine and experience improved flexibility and mobility in no time!