Exercise is important for our health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day; more is always good, but it’s not necessarily achievable when other parts of our lives get in the way. Who has time to go the gym when they have to work, cook dinner, and take care of the kids? However, aerobic exercise is something for which you can always find a little time!
A quick jog through the neighborhood or a few laps in the pool per day can make all the difference in your life. Aerobic exercise is important for cardiovascular health, but it can also help you get better sleep—something of which everyone could use a little more! But before you jump on the treadmill, plan a jogging route, or take a dip in your private pool, you should stretch beforehand. Stretching warms up the muscles to get them ready for exercise, lowering the chance of injury significantly. Read on to see five stretches you should be incorporating into your aerobic routine!
Hip circles are a great way to warm up your glutes, as well as your large core muscles. Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Lift one leg up in front of you so that your thigh is perpendicular with the ground, rotate it to the side of your body, then lower it to the ground. Then, reverse this motion, lifting the leg up again at your side before rotating it forward and lowering it. This should be done 10 to 15 times with each leg.
Toe and Heel Walks
Stand up on your toes as high as you can, keeping your legs and back straight. Walk forward 30-40 paces, then turn your feet outward and repeat. Turn your feet inward and repeat again, then do the same three sets while walking on your heels.
Stand up straight with your feet together. Bend down at the waist as far as you can, reaching towards your toes with both hands and keeping your legs straight. You should feel a pull through your hamstrings. Hold for 10 seconds, then rest and repeat for five total reps.
Stand facing a wall within arm’s reach with your feet flat on the floor. Extend your leg straight back, keeping your heel flat on the floor and your knee perfectly straight. Bend your front knee and lean into the wall with your hands until you feel the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.
This is a good exercise to warm up the shoulder muscles if you are going to be swimming. Stand upright with your arms by your sides. Lift your arms straight out from your body, parallel to shoulder height. Draw circles in the air by moving your arms clockwise for 15 rotations, then stop and rest before doing 15 counterclockwise circles, then repeat.
Always Warm Up Before a Workout
To reduce the chance of injury, it is important to always warm up the muscles you plan to use. Start with a short, low impact five-minute aerobic exercise to get the blood pumping, then stretch out each muscle. There are many different stretches you can choose from to warm up; find what works best for you, then get out there and exercise!