Categories: Fitness & Exercise

Warm Down Stretching Routine for Young and Old

Warm Down Stretching Routine for Young and Old

Whether you are old or young, a great fun and easy stretching routine is essential to help keep you fit and injury free. We take a look at a few different stretching routines, including some helpful videos.

Is stretching good for you?

The debate surrounding stretching and exercise is unlikely to end soon, for years stretching was always encouraged after a workout.

It was seen as the perfect way to prevent muscle soreness and reduce injury risk.

Recently this advice has been challenged. Studies have shown that stretching after a workout may not be effective at reducing muscle soreness or stiffness at all.

Certainly, pre-workout stretching is now seen as a bad idea, with many experts claiming that stretching before a workout can actually harm training by prematurely fatiguing the muscles.

But post-workout stretching does seem to have some evidence backing it up.

A 2014 study found that static stretching led to increased blood flow to the muscles afterwards, while flexibility is also improved.

There may even be some improvement in post-exercise soreness.

If you’re looking to improve blood flow to the muscles after a workout, want to reduce some stiffness or soreness or you are interested in improving flexibility, a good warm down stretching routine can really help.

Creating a good warm down

After finishing your workout, it is not always a good idea to jump straight into stretching, it depends what type of exercise you have been performing.

If your session involved powerlifting then you might want to cool down first with some cardio.

If your workout was just a walk around the park, then you probably don’t need much of a cool down!

Matching your warm down to your activity can help save you time, and it can also help make your cool downs more effective.

The next part of this article will provide different scenarios for young athletes and older athletes.

Scenario #1 Older person who has completed a 60-minute walk and can feel stiffness in the legs

Taking a nice long walk is a great way for keeping fit and healthy in older age. To help keep you flexible and free of aches and pains, it’s always a good idea to do a gentle little warm down stretch or two afterwards.

Muscles Aching: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves

If you have been walking for 60 minutes then the muscles that will be most affected will be the quadriceps, hamstrings, and particularly the calves.

If you’re out of breath after the walk then you should make a note to provide a cool down part of the walk in the future.

In this scenario there is no need for any dynamic stretching, just simple and easy to perform stretches that can fix an ache.

Stretches

Start with a simple standing calf stretch, a (supported) standing quadricep stretch and a seated hamstring stretch.

Standing Calf Stretch:

  1. Stand in front of a wall with both feet facing it.
  2. Place your hands on the wall and bring one foot backwards.
  3. Ensure that both feet are still facing straight ahead and push both heels into the floor.
  4. You should immediately feel a stretch in your rear calf muscle.
  5. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and then swap feet.
  6. Use the wall for support throughout.

Standing Quadricep Stretch:

  1. Find a sturdy chair and stand behind it, make sure that the chair is high backed as you are going to use the back for support.
  2. Grab the chair for balance, bend the knee of one leg and bring your ankle up until you can support it with your hand.
  3. Straighten the leg and stand up tall.
  4. You should now feel a stretch along your upper thigh (quadriceps).
  5. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then swap legs.

Seated Hamstring Stretch:

  1. Find a bench and sit on it, keeping one foot on the floor, bring your leg onto the bench and stretch it out in front of you.
  2. Straighten the leg and you will feel a stretch running along the back of your thighs (hamstrings).
  3. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds and then swap legs.

Scenario #2 Young person who has just completed a high intensity weights session

Muscles Aching: Chest, Lower Back, Glutes

In this scenario we are going to assume that you are a younger individual who has just completed a rigorous full body weights workout.

The first thing that you are going to want to do is cool down, you can either just walk it off, or jump on an exercise bike and pedal at a relaxed pace for a few minutes.

This will get your heart rate down slightly and help you get your breath back.

One of the best stretches for you to do is the cat/camel (also known as the cat/cow for some reason).

This is a great lower back stretch, it is quite dynamic, but also relaxing.

This stretch comes from yoga and it combines the relaxation of deep breathing with an active movement that encourages flexibility.

You can perform this exercise for 30 seconds, one to three times.

Lower Back Stretch (Cat/Camel):

  1. Get on your hands and knees and make sure that your shoulders are above your wrists.
  2. Next you are going to push your spine up into the air creating a huge curve.
  3. Bring your head down as you do this.
  4. Next you are going to push your chest down and push your glutes back, this will bring your head up so that you are now looking forward.

Wall Chest Stretch:

  1. This stretching routine is a great static stretch for the chest, all you need to do is find a spare bit of wall.
  2. Ideally a corner or a doorway.
  3. Rest your elbow on the wall with your forearm straight against the wall at a 90 degree angle (imagine you are waving at someone).
  4. Push the forearm and elbow into the wall and turn your body away slightly.
  5. You should feel a stretch going across your chest.
  6. Hold this for 30 seconds and then swap arms.

Glute Stretch:

  1. Lie on a mat with both arms by your sides and both legs straight.
  2. Keeping one leg straight, pull your knee up to your chest and grab hold of it with both hands.
  3. Pull towards you, this should cause a stretch along your glutes.
  4. Pause, and then pull your knee across your body slightly, this will stretch the outside of your glutes.

You can also add in the stretches from scenario one into your routine, this should prevent aches across your body.

Altogether this cool down stretching routine should relax you, help you begin to recover from the vigorous workout and may also help reduce soreness and stiffness from the session.

Let Us Know

Do you have any warm down stretching routine you love? if so we would love to hear about it in detail in the comments below….

Demmy James

Demmy James is a fitness buff, strength and conditioning specialist and content contributor with Muscle & Strength. He is constantly looking to inspire and motivate others to achieve their own health and fitness goals through his writings. Follow him on Twitter for more tips and guides.

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