To prevent soreness and remain flexible after working out, be sure to do your stretches.
To keep soreness away and your muscles limber, everyone needs to stretch after a workout, Stretching raises the temperature in the muscle and enables us to move with a full range of motion. It also relieves stress, tension, improves flexibility and prevents injuries. Don’t miss this important step. Toward the end of your workout, cool down by slowing your pace and then begin your stretch routine. Soreness and cramps are the result of skipping this step.
When stretching, take your time. Do your stretches slowly and never bounce. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Alternate positions and repeat two to three times.
Hamstring Stretch: Lie on your back with legs straight. Bring the right knee, bent back toward your hip. Grasp behind your right hamstring, with knee still bent. Slowly straighten knee until hamstring becomes taunt. Hold, relax, and repeat.
Quadriceps (thigh) Stretch: Lie on your stomach with left leg straight and right leg bent at a 90 degree angle. Loop a towel around your right ankle, holding the ends with your hands. Lift your right leg, attempting to straighten right knee against tension from the towel and arms, until thigh becomes taunt. Repeat two or three times.
Calf and Achilles Stretch: Place your hands on solid support. Keep back flat. Place one leg, knee bent, in front. Keep the other leg straight, with that foot either facing straight ahead or slightly toed in. With back heel firmly on the ground, move hips downward as you slightly bend the straight knee. You should have a slight feeling of stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat with opposite leg.
Triceps/Shoulder Stretch: Stand with arms overhead and elbows bent. Grasp the elbow of your right arm with left hand. Gently pull elbow behind your head and hold. Repeat with opposite arm.
Shoulder Arm Stretch: Stand upright, hold end of towel in each hand and raise your arms straight overhead. Lower left arm behind back while bending right arm slightly. Lower right arm to level of your left, and continue to move both arms downward as far as feels comfortable. Hold, then raise both arms.
The Triangle: Take a wide stance, placing feet about twice shoulder width apart. Your legs should be loose and knees unlocked, feet parallel to each other. Keep feet pointed straight ahead throughout this stretch, but don’t force it. Rest your right hand on the side of your right thigh and raise your left hand straight over your head. Keeping your left arm straight, slowly lean toward your right side as far as you can, letting your right slide down your leg. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then slowly bend back into stating position. Now switch hand position and stretch to the left side. If you have back problems, you can bend knees slightly while doing this stretch.
The Great Divide: Start by getting on your hands and knees with feet and hands about hip width apart. Without moving your feet, gently raise buttocks into the air, straightening legs without locking knees. Keep your feet and hands as flat as possible on the floor. Your body should now be shaped like an upside down V with your butt in the air. Gently lower your head as far as you can and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.