The Best Stretches for Warming Up and Cooling Down

The Best Stretches for Warming Up and Cooling Down featured image

Everybody knows about the importance of exercising regularly, but some people don’t realize that performing exercise stretches before and after a workout is just as important. Warming up before exercising helps your body to become more limber and flexible, which makes you less likely to sustain injury. Cooling down with a few stretches will relieve some of the soreness of a good workout. The type of exercises you should do before and after running or having a session at the gym depends on how intense you intend your routine to be.

The Warm-Up Routine

Warming up your muscles before running or working out is essential for preventing injury and ensuring you get the most out of your workout. The recommended routine includes up to 10 minutes of running at an easy pace and one or two series of warm-up stretches. When stretching, hold each position for a couple of seconds and do each stretch 10 times.

The first stretch loosens up the muscles in your hips, shoulders, quadriceps and the rest of your upper body.

1) Start by lunging forward on your right leg and pressing your hands flat against the ground on either side of your foot. You should look like you’re about to begin a sprinting race.

2) Next, keep your back straight while extending your left leg behind you. Twist the upper half of your body to the right and upward, reaching your right arm toward the ceiling and looking up at your hand. Hold for a second before turning your upper body back to the floor and pushing your right elbow down toward the inside portion of your right foot.

3) Pivot your right knee outward slight while relaxing your left leg.

4) Repeat this stretch up to 10 times and then reverse your position to work the left side.

The second stretch loosens the muscles in your hips, quadriceps, back and hamstrings.

1) Lunge forward on your left leg and place your palms on the ground in the sprinter’s stance.

2) Extend your right leg back and lift your buttocks in the air.

3) Slowly straighten your left leg while bending your head toward your left knee until you feel a pull.

4) Repeat this stretch up to 10 times on each side.

Finally, warm up your quadriceps and glutes. Standing on your left leg, pull your right knee up toward your chest. Next, pull your right foot up behind you, stretching it to touch your buttocks while lifting your left arm above your head. Do this stretch up to 10 times on each side.

The Cool-Down Routine

Even though warm-up stretches help to prevent injury, they don’t keep you from soreness altogether. In fact, it’s normal to feel sore after a good workout. To help your muscles feel relief, perform a few cool-down stretches, taking deep breaths to relax your muscles as you do so. The best cool-down routine includes about 10 minutes of easy running and three or four stretches held for about one minute each. Keep in mind that these cool-down stretches work best after moderate workouts. If your workout was very intense, shorten the amount of time you cool down.

  • The first cool-down exercise is to relieve your hips and quadriceps. Using your left leg, lunge forward, placing your right knee against the floor. Pull your right foot up toward your buttocks while pushing your hips forward.

  • The second stretch cools down your hips, upper body and quadriceps. With the top of your toes flat against the floor, kneel until you’re sitting on your heels. Lean back to place your palms flat on the floor behind you and push your hips forward as you breathe deeply.

  • Finally, stretch your inner thighs, calves and hamstrings with the hurdler’s pose. Sit on the floor and extend your left leg. Place the bottom of your right foot against your inner left thigh. Grab your left foot and use it to pull your upper body forward. Repeat on the other side.

Exercise stretches aren’t just for people who work out at home. Stretching is used in physical therapy, sports therapy, reconditioning treatment and much more. Whether you’re interested in learning more about stretching, yoga, or cryotherapy, RISE Prime Wellness is ready to help your body become healthier.

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