After you break a sweat and pump your heart rate, loosen your muscles with these 5 stretches.
So, your workout session goes something like this: First, your dynamic warm-up primed your body for exercise. Next, your climb on the stair-climber or run on the treadmill worked your heart and muscles. Lastly, your exit to the locker room means a ready for a refreshing shower.
But, hold on. Not so fast.
Before leaving, you might want to try this stretching routine to truly finish off your workout in a relaxing way. Giving yourself the time to stretch following your cardio workout will help your body cool down, improve flexibility, and prevent injury.
Try This 5-Move Stretching Routine
Perform this routine after cardio exercise between three and five times per week to improve your body’s flexibility and range of motion.
1 … Hip Opener
Lie face-up with your legs pressed against a wall from your glutes to heels.
Keep feet flexed as you slowly open your legs along wall until you feel a stretch.
Hold for 60 seconds, then bring legs together for 1 rep. Do 4 reps.
2 … Deep Lunge
Start on all fours.
Step your left foot forward and place your left foot on the ground with your left knee bent 90 degrees. Gently push your hips forward to feel the stretch along the front of your hips.
Hold for 30 seconds, keeping your chest up. Switch sides; repeat for 1 rep. Do 4 reps.
For a deeper stretch, grasp your back foot and slowly pull it toward your glute.
3 … Lower-Body Hug
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes forward.
Reach your arms to ceiling, then bend at your hips, folding over as far as you comfortably can, bringing your chest to your thighs.
Hold backs of your ankles and straighten spine, letting your neck and head drop toward floor and shifting your weight to your toes.
Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to start for 1 rep. Do 4 reps.
4 … Thread The Needle
Start on all fours. With your core engaged, reach your right hand under your left arm until your right shoulder is against ground.
Hold for 30 seconds, reaching as far as you can. Slowly return to start. Switch sides; repeat for 1 rep. Do 4 reps.
For a deeper stretch, raise your top arm to the ceiling.
5 … Heel Drop
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing a step or sturdy surface about 36 inches away.
Place ball of your right foot on edge of the step. Gently straighten your right leg so right heel drops to floor. Hold on to a wall for balance if needed.
Hold 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat for 1 rep. Do 4 reps.