Hey Angels and Alphas,
Most women don’t really feel the need to stretch after a walk. Especially if walking feels easy and natural for them. But to be honest, taking a few minutes to focus on your hip, ankle, and foot mobility can bring you health and performance benefits you never thought were possible.
Not only are you instantly speeding up your recovery (and reducing your risk of injury,) but you’ll also benefit from doing some extra dynamic stretching that can double as basically a form of bodyweight training for a couple of movements.
When you go from sitting to walking…
For most people, walking is pretty much the one break they get from sitting all day. Because of this, they often experience problems such as tight hips and poor ankle mobility. That’s why taking the time to give your hips some stretching can be absolutely critical to your overall health and comfort… and the same applies to your upper body!
If you just get used to doing a few minutes of stretching after your walk, you’re basically guaranteeing yourself that you’re getting adequate stretching throughout the day. If your job has a lot to do with sitting and looking down on a laptop or a computer, this will be tremendously beneficial as it will help you develop the mobility you might be missing out on, as well as have full range of motion on your movements.
Here’s how to stretch after your walk:
- Start with targeting anything that feels stiff.
After you get done with your walk, notice if anything feels stiff throughout your body. Start off with some ankle stretches to stretch out your calves (a lot of people feel tightness there.)
With the ankle stretch, what you want to do is stand facing a wall and then step one foot a couple of centimeters away from the wall. Then place your other foot a step back from that. Then brace your hands against the wall if you want the support. Begin bending your knee and allow your kneecap to come slightly over your foot and then toward the wall… while keeping both heels on the ground. Hold that stretch for 10 seconds, then do it on your other foot.
- Walking lunges.
The walking lunge is a classic stretch for hip flexors and for sneaking in some strength training. Simply walk forward and do lunges – take a big step, allow your knee to bend 90 degrees, let your back knee drop toward the ground… and maintain good core control as you do this!
As you’re down in the lunging position, what you might want to do is pause for a few seconds and lean slightly forward and back to engage your hip flexors. You should feel a good stretch but stop if you feel any pain. Do 10 of these per side.
And what about upper body mobility?
As you’re doing your stretching, you should always take some time to stretch your upper body, as well.
If you ever find yourself with a hunched back while working, you know this can lead to tight hip flexors. If you cannot physically open up your upper body, you’re going to create compensations that you don’t want to be dealing with.
Strengthening and working on your upper back mobility is vital to having a well-rounded and stable posture.
You can do yoga stretches such as the cat/cow poses on your knees and hands, as they’re a great option for opening up the whole upper body and allowing your chest, chin, and your hips to drop. For example, dropping for a cat pose, then bringing your chin, chest, and hips back up for a cow pose and letting your belly drop. By holding poses like that, you will build a straight line from your wrists to your glutes.
And moreover, you can also make sure that you’re stretching all throughout the workday. Sometimes it just happens naturally.
But if you’re someone who sits down for work, set an alarm every hour or so and stretch! Get up, do whatever stretch feels natural at that moment, maybe get a glass of water, then sit back down. Change the load that you’re putting on your body, we simply aren’t made to sit down for long periods of time.
Change that up – if you’ve got a sit/stand desk, that’s great, but in general, it’s moving more throughout the day and doing small things such as stretching after a walk that will make the biggest difference over the long haul.