As an integral part of your overall fitness, it is extremely important to warm up before an exercise program, and cool down and stretching after it. The following exercises are performed for the lower body, as these stretches concentrate on your quads, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, calves, and hips.
3 Stretching Exercises
While performing any of these stretches, it is extremely important that you don’t push yourself too much. You need to feel comfortable after doing these stretches, and not sore or uneasy. These stretches help in relieving stress and tension from your muscles, along with improving the overall blood circulation in the body.
Inner Thigh Stretch
- Place an exercise mat on the floor and sit on it with your legs spread as far apart as possible. With your right hand extended over your right leg, lean forward on the right side so that you can touch your right toes or ankle. Hold the position for about 20―30 seconds, and return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.
- Sit on an exercise mat, keep your back straight, and touch both the soles of your feet with one another (as if you’re doing the namaste pose with your feet). Now bring your feet closer to your body and rest your hands over your thighs while pushing it down gently. Try to touch your knees to the floor, but only if it’s comfortable for you. Hold the position for about 20―30 seconds. Release the pressure for a few seconds and start again.
Outer Thigh Stretch
These stretches not only strengthen your thigh muscles, but also protect them against strain, muscle pull, and/or knee injury. Hold a proper posture throughout the stretch for better, effective results.
- Stand in front of the wall and place your left palm on it. Cross your left foot behind your right foot. Bend your left ankle and lean forward, towards the wall. Hold this position and count till 10. Release your hold and come back to the starting position. Repeat the stretch on the other leg.
- Sit on an exercise mat with your legs crossed. Lift your left leg forward, bend it at the knee, and place the foot on the floor on the outside the right knee. The right leg will also be bent with the outer thigh placed on the floor. Keep your right hand on the left knee, and the left hand behind you on the floor. Pull with the right hand so that you can stretch your outer thigh, and count till 5. Release the hold and come back to the starting position; repeat on the other side.
Back of Thigh Stretch
Hamstrings need special attention too. If you don’t wish to do these stretches as mentioned, for more intensity, you can use an exercise band as well.
- Stand in front of the steps and place your hands over your hips with your left leg on the first step. You can also use a stepper to perform this stretch. Lift only the balls of your left feet while making sure that the heel stays in place. Lean forward till you can feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold this position for about 20―30 seconds, release, and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.
- Place your left leg on a chair with the heel touching the seat. Keep your right leg far away from the chair as possible; make sure you don’t lose your balance. Flex your left foot, lean toward your left side, and touch your toes or ankle with your left hand. Hold the position for about 15―20 seconds, release, and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.
These were some of the stretches that you can do while you’re at the gym, or are working out at home. The stretches will keep your lower body strong and flexible. To free yourself from tight, uncomfortable muscles in your lower body, these stretches can be performed any time of the day.