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Spring into Action

  • Category: CVMC News
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Get your body moving again with these quick and easy stretches and exercises

Staying indoors and decreasing physical activity are common during the winter months. Now that warmer weather is upon us, it’s important to get moving again. Here are some tips to get ready for outdoor activities.

Warming Up

Warming up your body with some light movement before any stretching or exercise can help prevent injury. An effective warm-up will take only 10 to 15 minutes, with light cardio and light stretching to warm up your muscles. We recommend an easy walk to begin, either on a treadmill or around the block. Marching in place can achieve the same effect.

Getting Active

Walking for at least 30 minutes a day can be extremely beneficial to your health. Not only does it help you avoid a sedentary lifestyle, but it can also improve your heart health, bone strength, balance, reduce pain, and improve your mood. If you haven’t done much walking, start small and build up to longer walks. A short walk around the block, on a treadmill, around the house, at a local gym, or around an indoor mall are all great ways to achieve this goal.

Stretching

Gentle stretching is the easiest way to improve mobility and flexibility. Stretching can be achieved in the form of low-intensity yoga or following these simple stretches in the comfort of your own home. Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch to the other side.

  • Standing Quadriceps Stretch - While standing, hold onto the back of a sturdy chair or couch for support with your left hand. With your right hand, bend your knee and grab your right ankle and slowly bring your heel towards your bottom. Hold, then switch and repeat with the opposite leg
  • Seated Knee to Chest - Sitting in a chair, grab your left knee with both hands and slowly bring it to your chest, or as high as you can go. Hold, then repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Calf Stretch - Stand up facing a wall. Place both arms on the wall for support and extend your right leg in front of your body. Slowly bend your right leg until you feel a stretch in your left calf Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then switch legs.
  • Overhead Side Stretch - stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms above your head and interlock your fingers. Slowly lean to the right, come back up to center, and then slowly lean to the left. If you are unable to raise your arms, place your hands on your hips instead. This stretch may also be completed while sitting down.
  • Upper Back Stretch – Sit back in your chair. Raise your arms to shoulder height and place your hands together, palms facing away from you. Tuck your chin and gently press your palms away from you. Hold and release.
  • Chest Stretch – Seated, bring your arms out to your sides with your fingertips pointing upward (like a goal post). Squeeze your shoulder blades together to open your chest and hold.
  • Triceps Stretch - Stand or sit with your feet hip-width apart. Raise both arms over your head, bending your right arm so that it’s positioned behind your head. Next, place your left hand on your right elbow and gently guide your elbow down towards your back until you begin to feel stretching in your upper arm. Hold, then repeat the same stretch for your left arm.

Incorporating these activities into your weekly routine will help you improve your flexibility and balance, and you’ll be ready to head outside this spring and summer!