Exercising is an important part of overall health. There are many different kinds of workouts people can do, like cardio for a full-body activity, or toning exercises to build muscle in certain areas. Fitness enthusiasts know that one of the most important areas to work on are the legs. Exercises that focus on the lower extremities typically engage the major muscle groups in your body, promoting passive full-body activity. During leg day, your workouts engage your core, tone your muscles, and burn calories, which helps build a strong foundation to help you in all your other workouts.
While it may be difficult to be consistent with your exercise routine, our past article on ‘Effective Tips by Planet Fitness Racine’ highlights how your fitness journey starts with proper motivation. This will give you the push you need to work out frequently and find the activities that work for you. Running and biking are a few things you can try when experimenting during leg day. Though they are cardio exercises, they still help build leg strength and tone the muscles. But, before you engage in any physical activity, it is important to remember to stretch. Warming up and cooling down with these activities will help lessen fatigue and prevent injuries in the lower body. To help you out on leg day, here are a few stretches you can try:
There are many ways you can stretch this muscle, which is the one that runs down the back of your thighs. Greatist notes that one of the best ways to do so is by doing the downward-facing dog. This move, commonly found in yoga practices, requires you to lie on your stomach with your hands by your shoulders. You can then use your palms and toes to push yourself up, lifting your hips towards the ceiling. This inverted V position will help you lengthen your spine and get a good stretch in for your hamstrings. Perfect if you plan on doing some heavy squats.
Your calves are the muscles located at the back of your lower leg, and they can be wound up tight just by daily activities like walking. A feature on easy stretching exercises by SymptomFind’s Esteban Vaquera suggest that they will help your body remain flexible throughout your workout. You can do this by leaning against a sturdy structure with your palms planted firmly against it before placing your right foot behind your left, keeping it as far back as you can with both heels still on the floor. Bend your left knee forward, keeping your back straight and hips towards the surface you are leaning on. Hold this for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg.
Another body part you should stretch is your quadricep. The quads are actually a muscle group with four parts, responsible for standing, walking, and almost all activities that involve the legs. This makes it a crucial muscle group for leg day, and you need to stretch it well. Start with your left hand planted on a sturdy surface before bending your right knee. Make sure that your corresponding hand is holding your ankle. Pull your leg towards your butt and hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. Be sure that your form is correct with your back straight and hips forward. This stretch will improve your range of motion when doing leg exercises, which will mean more muscle growth.
Fitness writer Joe Yoon explains that very few people pay attention to their ankles, despite their importance when exercising. This joint connects your legs to your foot, and it is also important to stretch it since it will be carrying a lot of weight and impact when performing leg workouts. All people have to do is find a surface they can lean on and rotate their ankle both clockwise and counter-clockwise for 30 seconds before switching to the next side. This will help your body be ready for any strenuous activity.
Stretching is an important part of exercising but can also be done daily. It will help you prevent injuries and stay flexible, keeping your body in good condition. When working on your legs, these are just a few ways you can warm up before engaging in physical activity.
For more fitness tips, check out the latest post ‘14 Brilliant Tips for Planet Fitness Gainesville Newbies’.