Exercising Safely

How to Start Yoga, for Beginners

We’ve all been told about the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after exercising. So here are a few warm up and cool down exercises to try before and after you’re next workout!

Warm-up and cool down exercises

Hold each stretch for 10 – 15 seconds before the workout and 20 – 30 seconds afterwards.

Chest

Stand tall with your tummy pulled in, knees soft and your elbows in line with your shoulders. Gently press the shoulder back and squeeze the shoulders together. You’ll feel a stretch through the chest and shoulders.

Calves

Put one-foot forward and one-foot back. Making sure your heels don’t leave the floor, lean forward. Use a wall or tree for support, if necessary. You’ll feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Switch feet. To increase the stretch, bend the back knee slightly.

Upper back

Stand tall with your knees slightly bent, your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and tummy pulled in. Clasping your hands together with your palms facing forward, extend both arms out in front of your body to form a 90-degree angle between your arms and your body. You’ll feel a stretch between the shoulder blades.

Quads

Bend your knees and bring one foot up to the back of the body and hold onto the foot. Use a wall or tree for support, if necessary. If you can’t reach the foot, then just bend the knee – it will stretch the muscles. You should feel a stretch right down the front of the upper leg. Switch legs. If you feel any pressure in the knee, ease off the stretch slightly.

Hamstrings

Place one leg on an elevated surface, like a park bench, tree stump or step. Keep your elevated knee soft and lean forward. Place your hands on your elevated leg for support. Switch legs. This will stretch the back muscles of the elevated leg.

Working out is much more enjoyable when your body is stretched and ready for whatever exercise you’re doing. Similarly, your post-workout soreness will be limited if you do a proper cool down and stretch. When you’re establishing an active lifestyle, it’s important to remember that the warm up and cool down are just as important as the workout itself.

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