Fitness expert, Beth Oliver, joined us today to bust the myth that you should stretch before you walk or run.
Here is what Beth has to say:
"Actually you want to think about mobilizing the joints themselves first. This helps your body start to get warm, it kicks on all the smaller stabilizing muscles that get over-powered by the big moving muscles, it gets blood and oxygen going and most importantly it promotes synovial fluid! That’s like your body’s own WD-40…but it doesn’t get secreted until you move.
We save the stretching of the soft tissue until after our workout…when the core temperature is high, muscle is well infused with blood and oxygen and responds really well to static or held stretches. This is when we get flexibility gains.
This warm up sequence is designed to be fairly quick and efficient. You can do it in a small space. It’s easy to remember because you work from your feet up.
1. Heel- toe rocks
a. Stand with your feet together or slightly apart, rock your weight forward to the balls of your feet, and then back to your heels as you lift your toes high. Do this in a rhythmic fashion, 10-15 x front and back.
2. Knee Circles
a. Stand with feet, ankles and knees together. Bend your knees generously, hands on thighs. Circle knees to the Right and then the left. About 10-15 x each way.
3. Standing hip circles
a. Stand with feet hip width apart, hands interlaced behind head. Lift right knee up as high as you are comfortable with without leaning back. Circle your knee outwards 10-15x. Switch. It’s Ok if you wobble around a bit. That will actually help you fire up the small stabilizing muscles in your feet and ankles, as well as in your core. If you prefer, you can hold onto a chair.
4. Forward Step with Spinal rotation
a. From Hip width, Step right foot forward while swinging your arms from left to right, horizontally. Step back to starting place and repeat. Then switch sides. 10-15 on each.
5. Forward step with spinal flexion
From Hip width, Step right foot forward with both arms swinging over head from left to right. Almost like doing the wave at a basketball game. Step back to starting place and repeat. 10-15 on each side.
(Time allowing, we could do standing stretches for after your fitness walk)
These stretches are easy to do. Start from your feet and work up your body. Hold each for about 10 comfortable breaths. Hold onto a chair for extra balance if need be.
1. Standing Calf Stretch
a. Step your right foot back a generous stride length, press heel down while leaning slightly forward with your hands on your thighs.
2. Standing quadriceps stretch
a. Start with feet hip width apart, pick up right foot behind you, drawing your heel towards your gluts, draw the toes toward your shin bone.
3. Standing low back stretch
a. Stand on left foot; pick up right leg with a bent knee. Hold below knee around your shin. Pull thigh towards chest as close as you can without leaning back.
4. Hip flexor stretch with spinal rotation and spinal flexion.
a. Step right foot back a generous stride length; stay on the ball of the back foot. Bend both knees into a lunge position. Tuck the back hip under slightly.
b. Put your hands behind your head with fingers interlaced and elbows open wide, turn left and hold.
c. Return trunk forward, left hand on thigh, reach Right arm overhead and lean to the left.
So what about when you can’t get your fitness walk in? Well, you just need a simple strategy. Commit to one small strategy for the month of August, even on days when you do get your walk in. It just takes a few weeks for something to become a habit, and then you don’t even have to think about it anymore, you just do it. It becomes your standard operating procedure!
One that I like is what I call “The Rule of Five.” If there are 5 or less flights of stairs between me and my final destination, I take the stairs! "