We are back to share with you the next post in SAMLARC’s blog series – Health and Wellness: It’s a Lifestyle! This post is full of helpful tips help stretch your body as spring approaches. As the weather heats up in preparation for a new season, outdoor activities are a great way to stay healthy and connect with your family and friends! Whether you choose to bike, hike or walk around the local trails, it is important to prepare your body by stretching before you begin. Continue reading for tips on which stretches to practice before you enjoy the outdoors!
Stretching Into Spring Shandra Coenen | Intecore Physical Therapy
Spring is right around the corner, and with our beautiful Southern California weather, it is time to dust off those bikes and hiking shoes and hit the pavement! There’s nothing quite like getting your daily dose of cardio in the great outdoors, but do you make sure to stretch before your preferred activities? Better yet, is it even necessary to stretch before activities? The idea that stretching is unnecessary is a common misconception that must be corrected.
Think of your muscle like a rubber band. If you take a rubber band out of the freezer, it will most likely snap if you try to stretch it quickly. However, if you use a rubber band which has already been warmed up, it will perform the task without an incident. Our muscles act quite similarly! Muscles work best when warmed up; this promotes blood flow, decreases stiffness, increases range of motion and helps to prevent injuries such as strains, tears, and ruptures.
The most commonly performed stretches are
Quadriceps Stretch Standing upright, hold onto a support with one hand for balance. With your other hand, clasp your ankle and pull your heel up towards your glutes. Repeat using the other leg.
Hamstring Stretch Sitting down, stretch your legs out in front of you while keeping your back flat and upright. Bend your left leg while keeping your left foot flat on the floor. Slowly reach forward and try to touch your right toe with both hands. Bend from your waist keeping your lower back flat and your head up. Repeat for the other leg.
Calf Stretch Stand an arm’s length away from a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your right foot about 2 feet in front of your left. Keeping both heels flat on the ground, lean towards the wall by bending your right knee. Your left leg should stay straight. Push gently against the wall for a deeper stretch. Repeat for the left leg.
Side Hamstring Stretch Stand with your feet about 2 meters apart, toes pointing forward. Gradually shift your weight to your right leg by bending your right knee while the left leg stays straight. Place both hands on your right knee for support. You can increase the starting distance between your feet for a greater stretch.
Each type of stretch should be held two times for thirty seconds each. Make sure not to bounce but slowly ease in and out of each motion, ensuring that you breathe throughout each stretch. Make sure to stretch where you feel a mild to moderate pull from your muscles. You should NEVER stretch into or through any painful ranges, as this may only further increase your chance of injury! Always remember, if you have pain with any stretch or activity, contact a medical professional immediately.
Adding stretching into your training program is ideal for any level of activity! Make sure to isolate the muscle group that will be primarily used during the physical activity.
We hope you enjoyed these helpful stretching tips and test them out before your next hike or even prior to strolling around the Lake! Tell us if these stretches worked for you by tagging us on social media @SAMLARC!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily shared by the SAMLARC Board of Directors or FirstService Residential California, LLC.