7 ESSENTIAL (AND EASY!) STRETCHES TO COMPLETE BEFORE EACH WORKOUT
One mistake that many people make when it comes to working out is skipping doing warm ups and properly stretching beforehand. Stretching should only take about ten minutes to complete but can end up making a significant difference.
Here at our wellness center in Kansas City, we want our members to have the best and safest workout possible. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of stretching as well as a few warm ups you can incorporate into your routine!
BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
Beelining toward the treadmill or weight rack might seem tempting, especially if you are in a hurry or are eager to get started. While that enthusiasm is important, stopping to stretch and make sure your body is ready will not only make your workouts go a little smoother but will also help to prevent pain, discomfort and injury.
By stretching, you will allow your muscles and joints to become more flexible and warmed up. Plus, it will also signal to your brain that your body is preparing for exercising. Working out is a mental game as well, so this is a win-win!
STRETCHES TO TRY
Check out a few of these stretches to try! You don’t have to do them all each and every time, but selecting three or four to add to your routine will definitely help.
#1: ARM REACH
To begin this stretch, stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Using your right foot, pivot while swinging your right arm across your chest. Twist your whole upper body in the same direction. Once complete, immediately perform the same task but with the other side of your body. Try to do this anywhere from 30-60 seconds.
#2: SIDE REACH
For this next stretch, begin in the same position as before with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. As you bend your right knee slightly, lean your body to the right side. Then take your left hand and reach towards the sky at a diagonal angle. To keep your body in a long line, stretch out your left leg as well. Repeat and alternate to the other side. Do this motion for about 30-60 seconds.
#3: HIP ROTATIONS
If you watched the most recent summer Olympics and paid close attention to the track events, odds are good you saw many athletes completing this next stretch prior to competing. Hip rotations are a great way to warm up the hips and legs. To begin, stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Threading your fingers together, put your hands flat on the back of your head, elbows pointed out. Bend one knee and pick up your leg, moving it across your body, up to your chest, and then back down. Repeat with the other leg. Continue doing this for about 30-60 seconds.
#4: KNEE LIFT
Very similar to the last stretch, start with your hands behind your head and your feet more than hip-width apart. Simply lift one leg up while bending your knees, almost as if you were attempting to touch your knee cap to your rib cage. Lower your foot and repeat on the other side. Again, it is best to do this for about 30-60 seconds.
#5: JUMPING JACKS
This classic warm up is one that you have probably been doing since elementary school P.E., though it is still important to incorporate even as an adult! To begin, stand with your feet hip width apart with your arms down at your sides. From there, you will jump to spread your feet out further while simultaneously bringing your arms above your head. Immediately, jump back in, bringing your feet shoulder width apart and your arms down at your sides. Complete about 25-30 of these to get your heart rate up and blood flowing!
#6: SQUAT WITH REACH
Begin by standing more than shoulder width apart while keeping your toes turned slightly outward. Bend your knees, push your hips back and lower your hands to the floor (or close to it!) in a squat motion. Immediately after that, push force down into your heels, stand back up and thrust your arms over your head. Perform this for about 30-60 seconds.
#7: PLANK WALK OUT
Begin in the standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend over until your hands touch the floor. Slowly walk your hands forward until you are in the plank position. Pause for a moment before walking your hands backward toward your feet and then returning to the standing position. Do this exercise 10-15 times.
ASK FOR ASSISTANCE
If you are needing a little help with honing your workout warm up routine, no sweat! Feel free to sign up for a personal training session or even check out one of the many workout classes we offer here at our wellness center in Kansas City. Courses such as one of our great yoga sessions or even our Roll & Release class would be the perfect choice for getting a better grip on these foundations.
No matter what route you go, our staff is here to help you have a fun, safe and productive workout experience. By taking the time to stretch, you are sure to achieve this and meet your fitness goals!