It's best to stretch after you walk (or do any kind of workout) because that's when your muscles are warmed up and more flexible. Though you might be tempted to skip it altogether, stretching is essential, as it increases overall flexibility, helping to prevent injuries, pain and soreness. Remember to: 1) Breathe comfortably-the muscles you're stretching need oxygen; 2) Hold for at least 20 seconds; 3) Do them often-flexibility takes consistency. Flip through for a few magic moves.
Stand with both feet hip-width apart. Bend your left knee and grab your left foot with left hand. With your knee pointing toward the ground, extend your right arm straight up. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.
Bend over slightly and shift your weight onto your left foot as you extend your right leg straight in front of you. Keep your right heel on the ground and toes pointing to the ceiling. Place your hands on your thighs and sit back slightly; hold for 20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Calf, Shoulder and Hamstring Stretch
Squat down slightly and extend your left leg straight in front of you with left heel on the ground, toes pointing up. Stretch left arm across chest and hold left elbow with your right hand. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch legs, arms and repeat.
Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch A
Lunge with right leg in front, your leg forming a 90-degree angle, and your left leg extended behind you.
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Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch B
Lower your body a few inches as you bend your left knee. Keep your back straight (don't arch) and your butt tucked under. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
Lower Back Stretch A
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your thighs.
Lower Back Stretch B
Round your back, pull your navel in toward your spine, and feel the stretch throughout your back. Hold for 20 seconds, then flatten your back into starting position.
For more fitness tips, visit DeniseAustin.com.All photos by Hilmar Meyer-Bosse.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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