Dr Gouri Choundikar, Pt tells us about some easy stretching exercises to compliment your cardio routine.
In our Feb-Mar issue, we talked about running as a good way to lose way and stay fit. For any aerobic exercise to be most effective, you need to add some strength and flexibility training to your fitness regime. For best results, your routine should be a combination of aerobic exercise and stretches. Each of these poses should be held for a minimum of 15 and maximum of 60 seconds.
- Stand straight with your one hand over your hips or holding on for support over a bar. The other hand holding your ankle with knee bent.
- Pull your leg behind with the help of your ankle and let the front of your thigh (quadriceps muscle) feel the stretch. Hold the position
- Sit on the floor with one leg straight & other leg bent across at knee.
- Bend forward from your back & try to touch your toes. You will feel a stretch at the back of your thigh (hamstrings)
- Hold the position
- Stand at the edge of a staircase with heels hanging down & only forefoot in contact with the stair.
- Pull the heel down as much as you can & this will cause a good stretch in your calf muscles.
- Hold the position for 15 – 60 seconds
- Lie on the floor with knees bent.
- Hug your thighs pull them up towards your chest. Feel a good relaxing stretch in your lower back. Hold this position.
- Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart.
- Interlock your palms and stretch them forward straight ahead causing a hunch in your upper back. This will give a good stretch to your upper back.
- Hold this position for 15 – 60 seconds.
A stretching exercise program of at least 10 minutes in duration involving the major muscle tendon groups of the body (i.e. neck, shoulder, upper and lower back, pelvis, hips and legs) with four or more repetitions per muscle group performed for a minimum of 2-3 days per week is recommended for most adults.
Key Points about Stretching
- Stretching exercise is the most effective when the muscles are warm.
- Stretching should be performed before and/or after conditioning phase.
- Stretching following exercise may be preferable for sports in which muscular strength, power and endurance are important for performance.
- Stretching may not prevent injury.
- Stretching should be performed at least 2-3 days per week.
- Stretching should involve the major muscle tendon groups of the body.
- Static stretches should be held for 15 to 60 seconds.
- Four or more repetitions per muscle group are recommended.