Stretching will add flexibility and can make your walking more comfortable. Warm up for 5 minutes at an easy walking pace before stretching, never stretch cold muscles or you risk tearing them. Incorporate mobility exercises designed to take a muscle and joint through its range of motion. You will start at the top of your body and work your way down. Find an upright pole, tree, fence or wall that will support you for leaning into on some stretches.
Stretches and Mobility Exercises for Walkers
Head Circles: Make 1/4 circles with your heat. Start with your ear near your shoulder on one site, rotate your head around to the front, ending with your ear near the shoulder on the other side. Roll your head back to the other side. Repeat 5-10 times.
Arm Circles: With one arm at a time, make backwards arm circle with your palm facing out, thumb pointed up. Repeat 10-15 with each arm. Then make forward arm circles with palm facing in, thumb pointed down, repeat 10-15 times.
Hip Stretch: Stand up, take a half-step back with the right foot. Bend your left knee and shift your weight back to your right hip. While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach further down your right leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides.
Quadiceps Stretch: Stand erect, holding onto a wall for support. Bend your knee behind you so that you can grasp your foot, holding your heel against your butt. Stand up straight and push your knee gently back as far as you can, the hand just keeps the heel in place. (For some, it is more comfortable to use the hand from the opposite side). Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch.
Calf Stretch: Stand an arm’s-length from the wall/post. Lean into wall/post, bracing yourself with your arms.. Place one leg forward with knee bent – this leg will have no weight put on it. Keep other leg back with knee straight and heel down. Keeping back straight, move hips toward wall until you feel a stretch. Hold 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat with other leg.
Achilles Stretch: From the calf stretch position, bend the back knee so that the angle is changed to stretch the Achilles tendon. Keep your heel down, hold 15-30 seconds. Then switch legs.
Leg Extensions: Facing the pole, hold on with both hands. Bending at the knee, bring one leg forward, then extend and swing that leg back and behind. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch legs. Be cautious of hyperextending your lower back.