The next time you head out for a walk and wonder why your muscles ache or feel tight, try learning how to stretch before walking to strengthen and elongate the muscles. Walking is an excellent form of low impact exercise that should start with a warm period followed by stretching. Stretches should be smooth without bouncing and held just after feeling tension in the muscle. Always stretch both sides of the body and breathe through each stretch. Walking benefits the body by helping to reduce stress, tone muscle and strengthen the body.
Warm up for three to five minutes to prevent injury prior to doing a stretch before walking. Start out by slowly marching in place or walking. Gradually increase the speed near the end of the warm up period.
Stretch calf muscles by completing a wall or chair push stretch before walking. Lean your hands on a wall or the back of a chair that is three to four feet away. Move the right leg forward so the knee is bent and pointed toward the wall. Keep the left leg straight with the foot flat against the floor. Always keep your toes pointed forward. Hold the stretch for ten seconds and repeat with the left leg forward.
Stretch hamstring muscles by completing a standing hamstring stretch before walking. Hold onto a rail or wall and place the heel of the right leg on a raised surface. Bend the body forward along with bending the left knee. Keep bending forward with a straight back until there is mild tension in the back of the right leg. Hold the stretch for ten seconds and repeat on the other side.
Stretch the knee joint, hamstring and gluteus maximus muscles by completing a knee pull stretch before walking. Lean against a wall for support making sure to keep your feet, hips and head in a straight line. Grab the right knee with your hands and pull it to your chest. Hold the stretch for ten seconds and repeat with the left leg.
- Stretch the side of the abdomen, hamstring, arm and shoulder by completing a side reach stretch before walking. Reach the right arm over your head and stretching the body to the left side. Hold the stretch for ten seconds and repeat on the left side.