SSummer time is almost here (finally!), and that means more daylight and more time outside. Whether you’re on vacation or just happy to get out of the house more often, most of us find ourselves walking a lot more than usual. When the sun is shining, our plans are more likely to take us on nature walks, shopping and sightseeing trips, or even taking us on a shore excursion to find that perfect spot on the beach.
summer walk It’s great for your body, but if there’s a sudden spike in your physical activity level, you may find your legs and feet sore and screaming. To keep your muscles from squeaking after all those extra miles, dave candyDPT is a board-certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and Continue 4 Life PT.
Which muscles cry for a good stretch?
Dr. Candy says the calves and glutes are the main drivers of the walking stride, as they are the muscles that push the body forward during the push. The hip flexors also assist with the swing part of the step when your leg is off the ground.
Also, your hip abductor muscles on the outside of your hip “help keep your body balanced from side to side when standing on one leg,” says Dr. Candy. And while walking on level ground doesn’t require much effort from the quadriceps muscles, “the demand for quads increases when going uphill or climbing stairs.”
Finally, the muscles in the shin, ankle, and foot work together to provide the appropriate amount of movement. pronation your foot.
The two best stretches to do after walking
Stretching after a long day of increasing this number of steps can help your body recover. as physiotherapist Corrine Croce said before Good+GoodAfter any exercise, stretching “can reduce stiffness and shortening in working muscles, increase blood flow, and…help clear waste byproducts that build up as we exercise.” Even taking just a few minutes at the end of a long day of walking will help you reduce tension and maintain mobility.
Dr. Candy says the most important muscles for walkers to stretch are the calves and hip flexors. This is because if your calves aren’t flexible enough to allow your toes to bend toward your shin as you take a full step, “your body will find an alternative path around your foot, which often results in overpronation,” she explains. “Likewise, if you’re unable to get your leg behind you as you extend your hips, it can cause your lower back to arch, which can cause back pain when walking.”
- Stand facing the wall with both feet facing the wall.
- Step forward with one foot and hold the stretched leg behind you with the heel flat on the floor.
- Keep the arch of the hind foot domed—don’t do that allow the foot to straighten or turn inward.
- Hold for a minute, then repeat on the other side.
hip flexor stretch
- Kneel in lunge position with the knee of the leg stretched on the floor and the other foot forward.
- Roll your pelvis under you to keep your waist straight.
- Push your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your leg on the floor. don’t do that let your lower back arch. (If you keep your back in a neutral position, you’ll be surprised how quickly you feel a stretch.)
- Hold for a minute, then repeat on the other side.
2:03 in this video by trainer Traci Copeland. watch this tension per minute show:
Cross-train with these six strengthening exercises for walkers
Just like with the rest of life, a proactive approach will serve you best. If you prepare your body for extra walking this summer by not only stretching but also strengthening the muscles you will use while taking these steps, you will not feel so sore at the end of the day. Dr. Candy recommends:
single leg balance
Dr. Candy says this simple exercise is actually one of the best ways to prepare your body for walking. “It strengthens the hip abductor muscles, which can prevent back, knee and hip pain when walking in people of all ages, as well as prevent falls in older adults,” she explains.
- Stand upright with good posture, engage your abs and glutes, and then stand on one leg for 30 seconds.
- Try not to hold on to anything, but stay close to something you can grab, just in case.
Although many people are familiar with heel rises, Dr. Candy says we often get these wrong. “It’s important to keep your heel and Achilles tendon upright and not allow the heel to bend (pronate) or twist (supin) too much,” he says.
- Stand with one or both heels hanging off a ladder.
- Lower your heels and then come onto your toes, making sure to keep your heels straight rather than rolling your ankles in or out.
- Complete 20 repetitions with both feet or 12 to 15 repetitions with each leg separately.
By using the small muscles in your feet to gently curl your toes and create an arch with this exercise, you can help prevent overpronation, which is a common problem. Dr. “It can be combined with balancing on one leg to save time and also make it harder,” Candy says.
- Stand up barefoot, bend your toes under, form a “C” shape with your feet to accentuate your arch.
- Hold for a few seconds, then relax and repeat.
- Complete 12 to 15 repetitions per foot.
Lunges, like squats, are one of the classic exercises to strengthen the hips and quadriceps. However, Dr. Candy believes lunges are superior to squats for walkers and runners because the load is primarily on your front leg. “The lungs allow for simultaneous strengthening of the hip abductors and hip rotator muscles,” he explains.
To maximize the strengthening benefits of lung movements and prevent knee pain, Dr. Candy recommends keeping your weight on your heels and keeping your knee in line with your toes. “When your weight is more on your heels than on your toes, it uses your gluteus maximus muscle more than your quads. Additionally, preventing the knee from falling in (the most common mistake) or outside of the toes also helps strengthen hip abductors,” he says.
To get the most benefit, make sure you make the right moves:
One leg mini squat
Although the one-leg mini squat strengthens some of the muscles that work with the lungs, the exercises target these muscles a little differently. Dr. According to Candy, “Single-leg mini squats require more balance to control the leg, so they typically help strengthen the hip abductor and hip rotator muscles more than the lunges, but not as much in the gluteus maximus.”
- Stand upright with good posture and engage your core as you lift one leg off the ground.
- As you return to the squat position, bend your knee and hip on the supporting leg, but go as deep as you can lift.
- You can hold onto a surface lightly for balance, but try using your support leg to stand up – don’t rely on your arms.
- Complete 10 to 15 repetitions per side.
Walking on your heels with your toes up may seem funny, but it can help strengthen the tibialis anterior muscle at the front of your shin. Dr. “This helps keep your toes up properly as you swing your legs so they don’t drag on the ground and stumble on you,” Candy says. This exercise can also help prevent your foot from “slapping” the ground and can help absorb shock. Ultimately, this can help prevent shin splintsA common and sometimes debilitating injury in walkers and runners.
- Keeping your core tight and your stance high, walk 30 to 50 meters on your heels and then back up.
- Repeat two to three times.
Additional tips for safe summer walking
Build your mileage slowly: Increasing your activity level too quickly can cause injury. “After winter, many people have cabin fever and are motivated to go outside. start your walking routine”says Dr. Candy. “However, if you start walking too early, you could cause an injury that keeps you from walking as much as you want the rest of the summer.”
Drink lots of water: You sweat more than you think. Not being properly hydrated can help your muscles recover.
Getting enough sleep: The body needs to recover from the extra activity. Practice good sleep hygiene with a consistent sleep routine to optimize your rest.
Eat nutritious foods: Your body needs nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals and adequate energy to repair tissues after exercise.
Do not ignore the pain: “If you have pain that’s more than just pain, or it’s nagging and doesn’t seem to go away, see a physical therapist to get it checked out and find out what you can do to walk more safely,” she advises. Candy.
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