Since moving is a physically taxing event, warming up and stretching are good ideas to help prevent injury. We will cover some good rules of thumb to follow and tips on the timing of your “moving stretch” that can make you less sore when it’s all said and done.
While many people stretch out when they are cold, it’s a good idea to do a light warm up to get your blood pumping before you perform your moving stretch. A short walk, some jumping jacks or any other light aerobic activity will work to get your heart rate up and get you read to start stretching. Also, it’s good to perform some joint rotations at the same time before you start your stretch. When you do begin your moving stretch, concentrate on the muscles that you will use during your move. Legs, back, torso, arms, shoulders, and even neck are critical to get loose before you do your move. A good way to stretch before moving is to perform what is called a dynamic stretch. A dynamic stretch is to mimic the motion that you will be performing during the move. Don’t swing to increase your range of motion, slowly extend your motion as far as you can and repeat a few times. This is a good way to start your move stretch (before you get to individual body parts).
Always remember to breathe during your stretch because it relaxes your body and increases blood flow. Make sure your breaths are slow (inhaling through the nose, holding briefly and exhaling slowly through the mouth).
When you stretch make sure you never bounce or force the muscle too much as this can cause injury. Hold your stretches for 15-30 seconds to get past your bodies “myostatic reflex”, which prevents muscles from stretching the first 10-12 seconds.
The following are some stretching exercises you can do before you move:
Tilt your head down, left, right and up holding each for 15-30 seconds.
Straighten your arm and put right across your chest. With the other arm grab the forearm and pull until you feel the shoulder stretch. Repeat with the other arm. After do some slow rotations of your arms.
Straighten your arms and pull them behind your back as far as you can. This can stretch biceps and pecks too.
Reach up with one arm and bend at the elbow. Take the other arm and reach over pulling the elbow toward your head. Repeat with the other arm. If you lean in the direction of the stretch it will stretch your torso too.
Hold your arm in front of you like you are making a stop signal take your other hand and pull back on the base of the fingers. Repeat with other hand. After, do some rotations to loosen.
Hold on to a door or wall and bend your knee back until you can grasp your ankle. Pull up slowly. Repeat with other leg.
Stand with feet flat and slowly lean forward against the wall.
Sit on the floor and lean toward your foot. Repeat with the other leg. This can also be done standing by spreading legs slightly and reaching toward each foot. This also loosens the back.
Lay flat and pull one knee up toward your chest. Repeat with other side. Also on all fours reach hands forward like a cat, this is called the cat stretch and good for the lower back.
These are some quick tips for stretching before your move. If you follow the warm up tips and stretches before (and after) your move they can help you avoid injury and feel less sore the next day.