A successful exercise program consists of a warm-up, exercise and a cool-down. Warming up is an important part of your workout, and should begin every session. It prepares your body for more strenuous exercise by heating up and stretching out your muscles, increasing your circulation and pulse rate, and delivering more oxygen to your muscles. At the end of your workout, repeat these exercises to reduce sore muscle problems. Here are some of stretching exercises to help you warm-up and cool-down.
1. Toe Touch: Slowly bend forward from your waist, letting your back and shoulders relax as you stretch towards your toes. Reach down as far as you can and hold for 15 counts.
2. Shoulder Lift: Lift your right shoulder up towards your ear for one count. Then lift your left shoulder up for one count as you lower your right shoulder.
3. Hamstring Stretch: Sit with your right leg extended. Rest the sole of your left foot against your inner thigh. Stretch towards your toe as far as possible. Hold for 15 counts. Relax and then repeat with left leg extended.
4. Side Stretch: Open your arms to the side and continue lifting them until they are over your head. Reach your right arm as far upward toward the ceiling as you can for one count. Feel the stretch up your right side. Repeat this action with your left arm.
5. Calf-Achilles Stretch: Lean against a wall with your left leg in front of the right and your arms forward. Keep your right leg straight and left foot on the floor; then bend the left leg and lean forward by moving your hips towards the wall. Hold, and then repeat on the other side for 15 counts.
6. Quadriceps stretch: Bend your knee and bring your lower leg up behind holding your foot. Keep your knees together and your back and abdominals strong. Squeeze hips slightly forward to increase the strength. Hold for 15 counts and repeat the other sides.
7. Inner thigh stretch: Stand with your legs wide apart. Slowly bend one knee whilst keeping your body facing forward and other leg straight. Hold the stretch for 15 counts and repeat for other side.
8. Chest stretch: Clasp your hands together behind your back and interlock your fingers. Straighten your arms and roll shoulders back. Lift arms higher to increase your stretch. Hold for 15 counts.
9. Triceps stretch: Bring one arm down behind your head with your palm facing in and your other arm applying gentle pressure on the elbow. Gently push your elbow down and behind your head. Hold for 15 counts and repeat for other side.
10. Upper back stretch: Bring one hand across behind your back and grasp your wrist with other hand. Gently pull down and across whilst dropping your head to the side. Hold for 15 counts and repeat for other side.
11. Back stretch: Bring your arms together out in front and clasp your hands, interlocking your fingers. Lift your arms overhead and with palms facing up, reach as high as you can. Hold for 15 counts.
12. Shoulder stretch: Bring one arm across in front of your upper chest and gently pull the elbow further across. Hold for 15 counts and repeat for other side.