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Stretch to Enhance Your Walking Workouts

By Rachel Carver

Though regular walks can increase your fitness level and help with weight loss, this activity is not usually viewed as an intense workout. Because of this, stretching is not usually considered at the end of each walk.

However, stretching is an important part of each workout, including walking. Focusing on foot, ankle, and hip mobility can speed up recovery, reduce injury, and can double as strength training in the case of some stretches.

Read on to learn more about why regular stretching is so important.

Show Your Hips Some Love

Many of us sit too much during the day. Walking is often what we do to combat a sedentary lifestyle. Because of this, it is common to have tight hips and poor ankle mobility.

Taking the time to stretch your hips can improve comfort and overall health. Consistently stretching after a walk will make sure you take the time to stretch each day.

Improve Upper Body Mobility

It is important to stretch your upper body. It is easy to get absorbed into a work project and not realize you are hunched forward to see your screen. Hunching your back can lead to hip flexors while walking. Effects of a tight body will be felt and absorbed by other body tissues.

Upper back strength helps our shoulders and hips. Solid overall muscle strength will help you get the most out of your walk and will make other physical activities easier.

Yoga stretches can strengthen your entire body. Take a lap around your office each hour to mix things up. Regular stretches and deliberate movement will make a difference.

Here are some additional stretches to incorporate into your daily routine.

Target stiffness -When you finish a walk, think about how you feel.  Calves and other areas might feel stiff. Focus on stretching these areas.

Ankle stretches - While facing a wall, place one foot a couple of inches away from the wall. Set your other foot slightly behind your first foot. Bend your front knee, allowing your knee cap to come over your foot and toward the wall. Try to keep both heels flat on the floor. Brace your hands against the wall if you need some additional support. You should feel your calf and shin stretch.

Walking lunges - Step forward and allow your front knee to bend 90 degrees and drop your back knee to the ground. Control this movement with your core. This will help you work your ab muscles as well. Maintain the lunge until you feel a stretch, but try not to cause pain.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fort Mill, S.C.

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