walking stretchesBefore you begin any serious walk, you should take a few minutes to stretch your muscles, ligaments and tendons. A quick stretch can be the difference between a great walk, and one you’ll be feeling for days. Let’s take a look at the basic stretches you should do every time you lace up those walking shoes and grab your pedometer.

Stand with both feet together and your knees soft (not straightened). Lean forward from the waist and let your arms and head hang toward the ground. You don’t have to touch your toes. Let your body hang under its own weight, and let it ease into the stretch with a deep breath. Slowly stand up and repeat.

Take a big step forward with your right foot. Bend your right knee (but don’t push it beyond your foot) and keep your left heel on the ground and your left leg straight behind you. Gently contract your abdominal muscles so there’s no excess arch in your back. You will feel the stretch in both your left calf and hip. Hold for a few moments, then switch legs and repeat.

Stand with legs slightly wider than shoulder width and hold onto a chair. With right foot facing forward, point left foot to right 45 degrees then lunge in that direction without letting knee go past toes. Repeat move on right side.

While standing up straight, bend your right knee. Reaching down with your right hand grab your right toe and pull it up until your heel touches your butt. Hold for a few moments. You should feel this stretch across the front of the thigh. Release the right leg and repeat with the left.

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