Women need to ensure that they do stretches before and after the workout. This is very important to prevent risks of injuries to the muscles especially the areas around the knees and arms that are on the weaker side. Doing stretches is not only a great way to warm up and cool down, but in the long run it prevents tear of muscles, loss of bone and helps you to avoid pain that is followed after a hectic workout. Here are some easy stretch exercises that you must try-
1. Hamstring Stretch
For this exercise, you just need to stand straight and then bend your left leg from the knee and bring the heel up to the butt. Hold it using your left hand. Feel the stretch and hold for about 5-10 seconds and repeat on right leg. Do this 3-4 times, especially before cardio workouts like walking or running, which lay stress on these muscles.
2. Shoulder Rolls
If you will be moving your arms then you should get them all prepped up for the same. For this, keep hands on the waist and then roll shoulders back and then forward. Do this with arm rotation added. Doing so works out the shoulder and hand muscles together. Do at least 10-20 times, using both hands.
3. Wide Squat Thigh Stretch
For this spread your legs as wide as you can. Most women target their lower body exercises being pear shaped. So the stretch in this area should be felt too. With toes extended outwards, scoop low and then get up again. Don’t scoop very low, just enough to warm up those muscles on the inner thigh.
4. Side Twist
Get your abs rolling too along with other body parts. For this stand straight with feet shoulder width apart. Now keep elbows close to abs and then turn towards the right and then towards the left. Do this 10-15 times to ensure that your stomach muscles are worked out well.
5. Quad Stretch
Take your left leg forward, with toes extending upwards and heel flat on the floor. Bend slightly from the right leg and feel that stretch on the left leg. Now hold for about 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other side. This prevents injuries on the quads.
6. Calf Stretch
Place your ball of the foot on the pavement or any other high surface. Now using the pressure on this feet, press slightly and feel the stretch on the calves. Repeat on the other leg and do 2-3 times for about 10 seconds each.
Post Workout or Cool-Down Stretch
Once you are done with the workout, cooling down is essential. This helps the over-worked muscles relax and get back into shape. Here are some of them-
7. Hands Stretch
Raise both the arms above the head in a salutation pose. Then bend backward slightly and hold for 10 seconds. Do this on the right and left sides too and feel that stretch on the arms and upper body.
8. Biceps and Triceps
If you worked on the muscles of the hands, you need to cool them down. Take your right hand across the chest till it reaches your left upper arm. Now using your left hand, press the right hand into the breasts. This works as a stretch on the biceps and triceps, while relaxing shoulder muscles too.
9. Lunge Stretch
Let your legs feel that awesome stretch. Extend right leg forward and bend from the knee, even as the left leg bends slightly. Now bend as low as you can feel the stretch on your inner and outer thighs together. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
10. Inner Thigh Stretch
Sit down on the mat and bring your heels as close to the crotch as you can. Press knees downwards while doing so and back straight. Hold for 20 seconds.
11. Chest Stretch
Lie down on the stomach and keep palms close to the chest. Using pressure on the palms, raise the upper body and extend the arms. It works on the arms, chest and abs together.
12. Stomach Stretch
Sit on the floor with heels under the butts. Then balance yourself on the knees and bring both hands towards the heels. Bend backwards and hold the position. It stretches your abs after a good workout.
13. Side Stretch
Stand straight and raise right hand above the head with left hand on the side. Bend towards the left side as much as you can. Hold and then repeat with other hand to feel that side stretch.
14. Lower Body Stretch
Lie down on the floor with heels flat and knees facing the ceiling. Without moving the upper body, place both knees on the right side and hold. Repeat with other side to feel the stretch.
15. Complete Leg Stretch
Whilst on the floor raise right leg straight up in the air with left leg bent and on the floor. Using both hands, pull the leg close to your upper body. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with other leg.