Stretches for Exercising on a Cold Day

The main thing stopping us from staying focused in winter is the cold weather! Warming up the body the right way, can get you moving more efficiently in winter, and help keep you motivated and on track! Warm up exercises are needed to get the blood flowing and to get you ready for the workout ahead, no matter what type of workout you choose, or just to get you ready for the day ahead! Warming up may also prevent sprains, strains and injuries. Due to the colder temperatures our muscles are usually tighter making injuries more common. So in winter, we need to increase the amount of time we spend on to get us started!.
Here are four warm u stretches to get you started on a winter’s day!

1. Lying down Hamstring

Muscles Used:
Hamstrings

Set up:
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart with a neutral spine. Place your hands behind one knee, shin or ankle and draw the leg straight up towards the ceiling as far as possible, maintaining a neutral spine.

Breathing:
Breathe deeply and as you exhale try to stretch a little further. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then swap sides.

Concentration:
Keep your tailbone down and in a neutral spine.
Straighten the knee and extend the leg as far as you can.

Modifications:
Increase the stretch by sliding the bottom leg out and straight on the floor. Flex the foot or side to side.
Cautions, corrections and common mistakes If they can’t reach their leg, use a towel or band. Be mindful of lifting the tailbone, twisting the pelvis or hunching the shoulders.

2. IBT Stretch

Muscles Used:
Iliotibial band, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus and vastus lateralis.

Set up:
Standing tall, cross your left leg in front of your right. Bend at the waist while keeping both knees straight, reaching your hands to the floor.

Breathing:
Take a breath in before bending forward and slowly exhale as you bend. Continue breathing at the bottom. Hold for 5-10 seconds then inhale as you stand up.

Concentration:
Ensure you feel the stretch from your glutes to the side of your leg.

Modifications:
Stretch up against the wall.
Cautions, corrections and common mistakes
Be mindful of hypermobility of the knees and avoid bouncing.
Participants do not need to touch the floor if the ITB is tight.

3. Twist Rising Swan Stretch

Muscles Used:
Back extensors, neck and buttocks.

Set up:
Lie face down with your forehead on the mat, arms bent, and elbows close to your sides with palms facing downward. Push with your hands as you aim to lift your chin towards the ceiling.

Breathing:
Inhale as you rest your forehead on the mat and exhale as you push up.

Concentration:
Allow your back to contract as you relax your abdominals. Relax your bottom as you complete the stretch.

Modifications:
Push further through your hands until your elbows are extended.
Cautions, corrections and common mistakes
Avoid if participants have lower back pain.

4. Spine Stretch

Muscles Used:
Whole body

Set up:
Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent, placing the foot of your bent leg on your shin. Keeping shoulders on the floor, slowly bring your bent leg across your body with arms outstretched and palms facing the ceiling.

Breathing:
Inhale as you bring your leg up and exhale as you slowly twist your body across.

Concentration:
Continue rotating until you feel a stretch in the area between your lower back and hips.

Modifications:
Look in the opposite direction as your top knee to extend the stretch through to the neck.
Cautions, corrections and common mistakes
Avoid allowing shoulders to come off the mat. Should not be done during pregnancy.

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