Exercise is important for optimal long-term health. However, it is important to be properly prepared. People who do not stretch before walking, running or doing aerobic exercises may get injured. Pulled muscles, sprains and joint pains are all common complaints of people who did not properly warm up before exercising. The following stretches are helpful for avoiding such injuries.
1. Back Raises
By doing back raises, exercisers can strengthen their erector spinae muscles. These muscles provide substantial support for any fitness routine involving lifting. To do back raises, lie down facing the floor. Stretch the legs straight and the arms above the head. Use the lower back muscles, and slowly lift the chest off the floor. Hold the position for 20 seconds before lowering back down. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.
2. Forward Lunge
This is a great exercise for stretching calf muscles and strengthening knees. To do this, stand very straight, keep the legs together and place both hands at the sides or on the hips. With one foot, take a step far forward. The leg moving forward should be bent, and the back leg’s knee should be facing downward toward the floor. Hold the position for about 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
3. Arm Circles
Many people injure their elbows, wrists and shoulders while exercising. To prevent such injuries, it is important to use the full range of motion for each joint. Make the hands go in circles 10 times in each direction. This will loosen up the wrists. Make larger circles with the upper arms to loosen up the shoulders. This exercise should also be repeated about 10 to 15 times in each direction. Be sure to pull each arm across the chest when doing this.
4. Wall Pushes
It may be impossible to move the wall, but this exercise makes people look like they are trying to accomplish that task. Stand about one foot from a sturdy wall. Place both hands flat against the wall, extend one leg back about one foot and try to flatten the heel on the floor. This stretches the calf muscles. Anyone who walks or jogs should do this exercise about 10 times with each leg.
5. Leg Lifts
Since legs and feet are used the most during workouts, it is essential to have them loosened up. To do this exercise, lie flat on the back. Lift one leg at a time, and try to keep it steady when it is extended as high as it will go. Hold it for about 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times with each leg. When the lifts are finished, pull one leg up to the chest as far as it will go. Hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times with each leg. Finally, bend one leg and roll halfway over. The leg with the bent knee should overlap the other leg and touch the floor. Repeat this five times on each side.
There are plenty of other ways to loosen up before a workout. If a workout involves strenuous lifting exercises with heavy weights, be sure to consult a doctor or fitness specialist before proceeding. They are able to recommend the best warm-up exercises, nutrients and safety accessories for such routines.