Warming up and cooling down — Start exercising gradually to warm up the muscles prior to your workout. After your workout, gradually decrease the pace to cool down your body. Never start or stop exercising abruptly.
After you walk, I would like you to perform numbers four through 10 of the 10 Basic Stretches. Stretching is great for relaxation and improved posture as well as for increased flexibility and injury prevention. The stretches will also minimize muscle soreness. Because they are so important to your program, be sure to include the stretches in every workout.
Do not bounce when you stretch. Instead, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds to the point of mild discomfort or where you “feel” the stretch. The muscles should be stretched so that you feel the pull in the center of the muscle, not at the joints. Take it slowly, relaxing and exhaling as you go into a stretch, then breathing normally.
Even though you can only perform structured exercise two days a week, I recommend that you integrate being more active into your daily routine. For example, climb stairs more; go out for mini-walks after lunch. Since your job involves a lot of commuting in a car, you will need to look for opportunities to move your body more while on the road. You can even perform the stretches at work. The bottom line is this: I want you to be more active in general because little increases in activity add up to improved fitness benefits.
Again, good luck, Sherry! I look forward to hearing from you after your first week on the program.
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