MAY FOCUS – WALKING

May is National Walking Month in the UK. Walking is a fantastic exercise. It is kind to your joints and muscles, helps to keep bones strong, and raises your heart rate. So it can help us stay trim and maintain a healthy heart. Walk tall, and keep your arms and shoulders relaxed. To raise your heart rate, try and walk at the pace you might as if you were late for an appointment.

Within National Walking Month is, “Walk to Work Week”. This is running from the 13th to 17th of May. If you want to get involved follow this link for ideas on how you might wish to go about it.
It’s not a bad idea to stretch gently before you go on your walk. It’s definitely good practice to stretch after your walk, try these exercises to keep your muscles injury-free.
These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, if you experience a problem, stop the exercise and consult your Osteopath or other medical practitioner. If you have an existing complaint, it would be wise to consult your practitioner to check these exercises are appropriate for you.
Hamstring and Calf Stretch
From a standing position. Allow one knee to bend a little and bring the opposite leg out straight in front of you. Let your hands rest onto the thigh of the straightened leg. Pull the toes of the straightened leg back towards your body to feel a stretch up the back of the leg. Swap around and do the same on the other side. Hold each side for at least a count to 20.

Image Supplied by Google

Quadriceps Stretch
From standing, bring your foot up behind you to touch your bottom. Hold onto the foot to feel a stretch at the front of the thigh. You may wish to hold onto something for greater balance. Hold the stretch for at least a count to 20 and repeat on the other side.

Image Supplied by Google

Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneeling, bring one foot out ahead of you. You will be stretching the muscles at the front of the back hip. Lunge forward, making sure your knee doesn’t travel beyond your toes. If this is the case move the foot further forward so this can’t happen. Hold the stretch for at least a count of 20, then reverse the position to repeat on the other side.

Image Supplied by Google

Hip Stretch
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Cross one leg over to rest on the opposite thigh. Clasp your hands behind the thigh (the one that should still have the foot on the floor.) Then hug this thigh up towards your chest. You should feel a stretch at the back of the hip. Hold for at least a count of 20, then swap the position to repeat on the opposite side.

Image Supplied by Google

Ilio-tibial band stretch
Lay on your back with the knees bent. Loop a scarf (or elastic exercise band if you have it) around the sole of one foot. So you can hold the two ends of the scarf at your body to support the leg. To stretch the outside of your thigh (the ilio-tibial band). With a straight leg, rotate the hips inwards so your toes point to the opposite side. At the same time also allow your thigh to travel to the midline of your body. If your knee and ankle feel ok with the movement. You can also allow these two areas to rotate inwards to feel a stretch down the outside of your lower leg. Hold for at least a count of 20, and repeat on the other side.

Image Supplied by Google

Adductor Muscle Stretch
Starting from the same position as the exercise above, with the scarf looped around the bottom of your foot, or ankle. Allow the straight leg to drop out to the side. You should feel a stretch at the inner thigh. Go as far as you feel comfortable, whilst ideally trying to keep your pelvis level. Hold for at least a count of 20, and then repeat on the opposite side.