I walk for 45 minutes three times a week. Are there flexibility and mobility exercises I should be doing before my walks?
You should be doing dynamic mobility exercises before your workout and static stretches afterward.
During dynamic mobility exercises, muscles are stretched by moving at a joint. When statically stretching, a muscle is held in its lengthened position, usually for 30 seconds to two minutes. The key difference is that dynamic mobility exercises involve motion and static stretches are, well, static.
Here are some exercises you can try.
Ankle mobilization: Stand, holding something stable. Lift your toes up toward your shins 20 times. Lift your heels off the ground so that you rise up onto your toes. Repeat 20 times.
Lift one leg off the ground. Move at your ankle to rotate your foot 10 times clockwise, and 10 times counterclockwise. Switch and repeat on opposite leg.
Hip mobilization: Stand with hands against a wall. Gently swing your right leg side to side. Imagine your leg is the rope in a bell.
Then stand perpendicularly to a wall, with your inside hand resting on the wall. Swing one leg forward and backward like a pendulum.
For both exercises, keep your upper body still. Repeat 10 times and then switch legs.
Shoulder and neck mobilization: Lift your right arm and make a circle back behind your body with your arm. Follow your hand with your eyes so that your head rotates. Alternate sides for 20 reps.
When stretching, keep the range of motion small. The intensity of a stretch should be a four or five out of 10.
Flexible muscles and joints are only beneficial if you have enough strength to support the joint. Injuries can occur when a joint is unstable due to lack of strength. In addition to walking, do strength training for your lower body and core.
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