Stretch It Out
A good stretch helps protect your ligaments and muscles from injury. "Doing it after you walk is most effective and efficient; you're much more likely to injure yourself stretching cold, tight muscles than you are warm, pliable ones," says Neporent. If you're pregnant, stretch with care; all those hormones rushing around in your body loosen your ligaments, so it's easy to overstretch. Here are four post-walk stretches. Hold each of them for a count of 10, and do each of them on both your right and left sides.
What to do: Bend at the waist to a 45-degree angle. Place the heel of your right foot on the ground and bend your left knee. Place your hands on your left knee or thigh for balance.
Where's the stretch? On the back of your upper right leg.
What to do: Stand up tall in front of a bench or gate. Place your right hand on the bench for support. Lift your right foot behind you as if you were trying to touch your butt. Grab your foot with your left hand.
Where's the stretch? On the front of your upper right leg.
What to do: Stand in front of a wall, about two feet away. Place your hands against the wall. Bend your left knee to a 45-degree angle and step your right leg back a foot.
Where's the stretch? On the lower back half of your right leg.
What to do: Get down on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees. Round your back, and look between your legs. Then look up, arch your back, and stick your butt in the air.
Where's the stretch? In your abs and your lower back.