Whether you’re hitting the gym, heading out for a ski, or going for a skate on the canal, it’s crucial to stretch before and after the activity.
A dynamic stretch is your best pre-workout option. This type of stretch requires active muscular effort like swinging legs forward and backwards or twisting the torso from side to side. The movement helps to increase mobility and blood supply and can help decrease the risk of injury. In the cool-down stage, static stretches, where the movements are held in position for at least 10-30 seconds, are ideal.
1 + 2 Start to create movement by standing on one leg
Swing the other back and forth. Start slow and don’t force the leg to go higher than it wants too. Use a chair, railing or wall for balance. 10-12 swings per leg.
3 + 4 Bend over to get your hands touching the ground to feel a deep stretch in the back of your leg. Don’t hold the position- come up stretching your hands to the sky and then back down. Stay in a down position and twist the body from side to side, turning the body and reaching arm to the sky (as shown).
5 The Lying glute stretch- While lying on your back, cross one leg over the other and bring them towards the body by pulling on the bottom leg. Hold at least 30 seconds and then change legs.
6 The pigeon pose opens the hips and works the hip flexor- Depending on your flexibility you can either have your bottom leg at a 90 degree angle or bring the leg underneath you (as shown)….For a deeper stretch bring your elbows to the ground and hang out for at least 30 seconds.