Warm up to walk? Absolutely!
With just a mere 3-4 minute warm up your mind and body will be prepared, allowing you to get the most out of your walk. Walking is a great cardiovascular workout, but as with any workout, if you don’t warm up, you increase your risk of injury.
By warming up you:
- Engage your mind to being receptive to the upcoming workout.
- Increase your heart rate and your body temperature transitioning your body from a restful state to an active one.
- Prepare your muscles and joints for the movements you will be doing, decreasing your risk for pulling a muscle.
Your warm up should consist of dynamic stretches, which are moving stretches you do not hold. You will want to warm up the muscles and joints you will be using while walking. Do not perform static stretches prior to working out. A static stretch is a stretch you hold for an extended period of time. This type of stretch relaxes the muscles and tendons preparing you for relaxation, not activation!
5 great dynamic stretches for walking include:
- Standing Alternating Leg Swings – Hold on to a chair, make sure there’s nothing in your way, balance on one leg and slowly control the swing of your other leg forward and then backward while keeping your torso straight. Perform 6-8 repetitions per leg.
- Toe Touches – Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Reach your arms down to touch your toes and then bring your hands back to your hips. Do not hold the stretch.
- Pelvic Loops – Stand with your feet hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips to the left in a circular motion for 6-8 repetitions. Repeat to the right.
- Ankle Point, Flex and Circles – Seated, stretch you leg out in front of you. Point your toes down toward the ground and then flex your foot up toward your body. Complete 6-8 repetitions. Follow-up with 6-8 rotational ankle circles toward the left, and then to the right. Switch feet.
- Arm Circles – While standing, stretch both arms out to your sides. Make small circles forward for 6-8 repetitions, and then repeat with backward arm circles.
Done! Now it’s time for a great walk. Oh, and don’t forget to cool down after your walk with 3-4 minutes of static stretching!
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Thank you – Michelle