Before you start walking, it is important to warm up first. Increasing the temperature in your muscles and joints and increasing blood flow will make you more comfortable when you exercise and reduce the risk of injury.
Mark Fenton has developed a few easy warm-up moves that target the muscles you use most during walking. You can do them all in a standing position and the entire routine should take only three minutes.
- Ankle circles. Standing on one foot, lift the other leg off the ground in front of you. Slowly flex that ankle through its full range of motion, making circles with the toes. Do 6 to 8 circles then reverse the direction of your circle and do 6 to 8 more. Switch feet and repeat.
- Leg swings. Standing on one leg, swing the other leg loosely from the hip in a front to back motion. Keep it relaxed and unforced like the swinging of a pendulum. Your foot should swing no higher than a foot or so off the ground. Do 15 to 20 swings on each leg.
- Figure-8 leg swings. Just like the leg swings above, swing one leg from the hip in a front to back motion, but this time, trace a figure-8 with your leg. Your leg should trace a circle in front of the body and another circle behind. Do 15 to 20 swings on each leg.
- Pelvic loops. Stand with your hands on your hips, your knees gently bent, and your feet hip-width apart. Keep your body upright and make 10 slow, continuous circles with your hips, pushing them gently forward, to the left, back and to the right. Then reverse directions and repeat.
- Arm circles. Hold both arms straight out to your sides, making yourself into the letter T. Make 10 to 12 slow backward circles with your hands, starting small and finishing with large circles, using your entire arm. Shake out your arms, then repeat with 10 to 12 forward circles.
- Hula-hoop jumps. Begin hopping in place on both feet. Keep your head and shoulders facing forward, and begin to twist your feet and lower body left, then right, going back and forth on successive hops, 20 times.