Tips for doing simple workout stretches

September 28, 2015

There are two types of exercise: aerobic and isometric. Aerobic exercise gets your heart beating faster and your lungs working harder. Isometric exercise — also known as resistance training or weight training — builds muscles by making them lift, pull or move something heavy.

Tips for doing simple workout stretches

1. Combine the two

The classic way to weight train is with weights at a gym, but you can also do simple exercises using portable dumbbells. An ideal exercise plan incorporating both types of exercise consists of the following components:

  • A warm-up at the start of each session to help to loosen your muscles, tendons and ligaments, and to prevent injury.
  • Stretching exercises to increase flexibility, improve the range of motion of your joints, enhance posture and boost circulation.
  • Aerobic exercise to improve stamina and build cardiovascular strength. Examples include brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, dancing and certain household or gardening chores. To be effective, the activity should last for about 20 minutes.
  • Weight training through resistance exercises, to maintain and enhance muscle mass and strength, and help burn calories more efficiently.
  • Exercises for core muscles in your lower back, abdomen and pelvis, to enhance balance and stability.

2. Basic stretching exercises

  • Warming up before exercise helps to prevent injury and keeps you flexible, making it easier to do many physical activities.
  • Once you've warmed up your muscles, you can try gentle stretching.

3. Hamstring stretch

  • Place your left heel on a low stool, step or anything you have on hand, such as an upturned bucket.
  • Put your hands above your hips for support.
  • Bend over very slowly, keeping your back straight and shoulders square until you feel a stretch at the back of your leg.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

4. Calf stretch

  • Take a step forward with your right foot.
  • Keeping your left leg straight and both heels on the ground, lean forward.
  • You will feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon, at the back of your foot and your calf muscles.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

5. Lower-back stretch

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Using both hands, pull your left knee to your chest, pressing your lower back into the floor.
  • You should feel the stretch in your buttocks and lower back.
  • Repeat with the right knee.

6. Quadriceps stretch

  • Place your right hand on a chair or against a wall for balance.
  • Hold your left foot with your left hand and pull your foot gently toward your buttocks, keeping your standing leg slightly bent.
  • You should feel a stretch in the muscle at the front of your thigh.
  • Repeat with the right foot.
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