When in doubt – stretch it out! Taking a few minutes before and after any physical activity could be the difference between a successful, heart-pumping workout, and a potential injury, leaving you even worse off and with some serious aches and pains. 

During this time, many of us have been forced to cut out much of the frequent movement and exercise we are used to getting, leaving our bodies stagnant and at further risk for injury. This risk increases when we immediately jump into a workout for the first time, regardless of the intensity of the activity. Whether you are back in the gym for the first time in months or taking an evening walk around the corner, set aside time before and after to stretch out your muscles and joints to prepare for the activity ahead. 

Your Stretching Routine

You should look for a stretching routine that works for you and meets the level of intensity your workout requires, but there are also a few things all stretching routines should have in common. Focus on the muscles you’ll be engaging in the workout. Think about all of the parts of the body that are involved, not just the muscles you are planning to target. For each stretch, hold the pose for 10-30 seconds to fully engage that part of your body. Your typical warmup should last about 10 minutes, and should also include some light, active movement before you jump head-first into your full workout. Similarly, end every workout with a cool-down and stretch. This allows for the slowing of your breathing and heart rate and will bring you back to a resting state. 

The Best Stretches

Your specific stretching needs will vary depending on your workout. A few of the most popular stretches include:

Quad Stretch – stretch out your leg by balancing on one foot and bending your other leg, holding your ankle with your hand. Use your other hand to keep your balance if necessary. 

Knee Pull –  pull one knee to your chest, holding the stretch with both hands

Tricep Stretch – reach one arm behind your head, resting your hand on the upper back. Use your other hand to grab your elbow into a stretch. 

Butterfly Stretch – sitting on the ground, bring both feet together with your knees bent out to the sides. 

Deadbug Stretch – the dead bug stretch works to prevent hamstring injury. Dr. Tucker explains the purpose of the exercise and how to properly complete the movement. 

Other Precautions and Options

Take care of your body and any extra precautions you feel you need to stay safe during your physical activity. Before and after any workout, apply PHYTO-ZOL to the areas of concern, and use it additionally for any muscle or joint discomfort. PHYTO-ZOL’s Locally Enhanced Transdermal Serum reaches the affected area for the relief you need. After 22 hours, PHYTO-ZOL performs better and penetrates deeper than any other topical CBD available. Visit PHYTO-ZOL Direct to test our #1 doctor-recommended serum. 

Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

Dr. Tucker’s interest in putting together the arts and science of Pilates, yoga, stretching, medicine balls, stability balls, rubber tubing, balance training, chi gong, weight training, cardio training, endurance training, diet, chiropractic, performance enhancement, muscle and massage therapy, has been evolving for more than 20 years. He completed Chiropractic training at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and has a postgraduate Diplomate degree in Rehabilitation and is certified in chiropractic spinal trauma.