This month we have been posting about injury prevention when enjoying summer activities like walking, running, and hiking. A dynamic warm-up before being active is another key piece in this prevention.
Try this easy to follow dynamic warm-up:
Walking alternating toe touches, 20 on each side
Leg sweeps, 20 on each side
Butt kicks, 20 on each side
Alternating walking lunge, 10 on each side
Heel Raises, repeat 20 times
Other static stretches through the quad, hamstring, calf, etc. can be completed after this dynamic warm-up as well as after activity. A fourth lower extremity stretch that is often missed, but is equally important is the hip flexor stretch. When our hip flexors are too tight, it can inhibit other hip and core stabilizing muscles from activating properly. You may try the following 2 stretches.
Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Kneel on the floor on the side you plan to stretch and bring the other hip up to 90 degrees with the foot on the ground. Pull stomach in and “tuck your tail” slightly. Keep the shoulders positioned over the hips and drive your hips forward to feel a stretch in front of the hip and thigh. Hold 30-60 seconds, 2-3 times each leg.
Hip flexor stretch off an edge
Lie on your back with your butt at the edge of a table or bed. Grasp one knee firmly to your chest and let the other leg drop off the table, making sure to keep your back flat on the surface of the bed or table. Hold 30-60 seconds, 2-3 times each leg.