Warm Up & Cool Down

Remember to breathe deeply, without bouncing or jerking, as you stretch and move into each new position slowly.

Warming up prepares your body for walking by firing up your cardiovascular system, increasing blood flow to your muscles and raising your body temperature.

Cooling down lowers your temperature and helps reduce stiffness and soreness in your muscles.

Starting and ending your walk

  • Start by walking at a slow-medium pace for about 5 minutes.
  • Stop and take a few minutes to stretch the muscles in your legs and body.
  • Keep walking at a quick but comfortable pace.
  • Stop and take a break if you start to feel any pain or dizziness. Talk to your health care provider if pain or dizziness continues.
  • End your walk by slowing your pace for about five minutes and repeating your stretches.

Stretching

Hamstring muscle stretch

Stretching helps to relax your body, increase your flexibility and prevent injuries. Stretching after exercise, or when your muscles are warm, lets your muscles lengthen, preventing sore muscles.

Try these 5 stretches before and after your walks:

Calf muscles stretch

  • Stand facing a wall.
  • Place your foot forward about 30 cm from the wall.
  • Stretch your arms forward — keeping your elbows straight — and lean against the wall.
  • Place your other foot flat on the floor, slightly behind and to the side of your front.
  • Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your back leg. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Hamstring muscle stretch

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Place one leg straight out and bend your other let at the knee.
  • Keeping your back straight, lean forward and slide your hands down the straight leg until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Thigh stretch (sitting)

  • Sit on the edge of a chair.
  • Lower your knee toward the floor and press it back under the chair.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat with your other leg.

Alternate thigh muscles stretch

  • Place one hand on the wall.
  • Reach back with your other hand and hold the same side foot in that hand
  • Once you have your balance, slowly raise the foot up towards the lower back. Hold for 15 30 seconds and then relax.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Achilles stretch

  • Sit on the floor; gently pull your toes back towards you.
  • Hold for a count of 5 and then relax. Repeat each foot several times.

Source:
Ontario Active Living

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