Maximize the benefits of your walk before you take the first step — a proper warm-up revs your body for optimum performance and reduces risk for injury. Recent research suggests your body may respond better to dynamic stretching than static holds prior to physical activity. While the jury deliberates on whether toe touches are better before exercise or after, warming up with light cardio is recommended regardless. Heat up your muscles and joints first with a 5-minute slow walk… then try some of these range-of-motion generators:
To engage your hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps, slowly swing one leg at a time back and forth starting with a knee raise in front and ending with your leg extended back behind you.
Lunges also simulate slower, yet exaggerated, actions of your walk — which helps prepare your legs for the real deal.
Circle both ankles clockwise and counter-clockwise; alternate between pointing and flexing your toes.
To stimulate blood flow to your back, twist your core from side to side. You can also rotate your entire upper body around your hips.
Dedicate 5-15 minutes to your warm-up, then you can impose light stretches — calves, hamstrings, and groin. Just remember, never bounce… ease into positions and breathe out slowly.