When is the Best Time to Stretch?
When your muscles are warm and relaxed! You should stretch after you have done a general body warm up of about 5-10 minutes. Marching or jogging on the spot in order to get the heart rate and body temperature up can do the trick.
Dynamic stretches are used prior to walking and they are essential in preparing your muscles for the quick movements that occur with walking. Static stretches, on the other hand, are more useful to improve your overall flexibility and are most effectively done after you have finished your walking workout.
Rules for Dynamic Stretching:
Warm up your body first, then stretch while your muscles are still warm and do not let your body cool down before starting your walk.
Move through your range of movement, keeping control of the movement with your muscles. Do not allow momentum to control the movement by “flinging” or “throwing” your body parts around.
You may feel light resistance in your muscles, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
Start with slow, low intensity movements, and gradually progress to full-speed movements through range of motion. Complete these motions for several repetitions (10-15 times.)
Rules for Static Stretching:
Be sure to stretch while the muscles are still warm (soon after your walk).
Slowly take your muscles to the end of their range. You will feel slight resistance in the muscle, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
Hold the stretch in a static position. Do not bounce.
Maintain each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat each stretch 3-4 times.
Essential Stretches for Fitness Walking:
These muscles are the key muscles used when walking for fitness. Don’t forget to stretch both sides. The stretching program shown below will take about 10-12 minutes to complete.
Lumbar Spine Rotations:
Lumbar Extension Stretch
Back Flexion Stretch
Anterior Hip Stretch