How to Stretch Before Walking

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Walking is the easiest way to start getting in shape. It is low-impact, can be done anywhere and doesn't require specialized equipment. Walking is typically done outside, in fresh air and with changing scenery--whether you are walking the city streets or on a rural country road. Even though it is low-impact, a good stretching program before and after you walk is important to prevent injury. Here's how to stretch for a good walk.

  • Warm up your muscles first with five minutes of a generalized warm-up. Jump rope, or just walk briskly at first to get the blood pumping and the core temperature up.

  • Lean with your hands flat on a wall. Place one leg back, and with your heel on the ground, stretch your hips forward to stretch your calf muscles. Repeat with the other leg.

  • Stand on one leg, holding on to a wall or chair for support. Bring up the other leg toward your buttocks and grab your ankle with your hand, pulling gently to stretch the quadriceps. Repeat with the other leg.

  • Stand with legs wide apart. Bend one leg and lean to that side and hold to stretch the groin muscle. Repeat on the other side.

  • Lie on your back, cross one leg in front of the other with the ankle resting on the knee as though you were sitting cross-legged. Pull the uncrossed leg toward your chest to stretch out your buttock muscles. Repeat on the other side.

  • Bend one leg and stretch the other out behind your body. Lean forward and hold. Repeat on the other side.

  • Put your heel on the seat of a chair and lean forward gently to stretch out the hamstring muscle. Repeat on the other side.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid bouncing when stretching. Hold a position for 10-30 seconds just to the point of mild discomfort.
  • After walking, perform the same stretches after at least 10 minutes of cool down, which can be walking at a slower pace for the last 10 minutes.
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