Stretching is often forgotten or seen as less important, but is actually a very important activity! It has a number of benefits (learn more about them here) and should be done before and after you hit the pool. Since it can be confusing to figure out what stretch should be done when, here are some stretches you can try!
Lunge and Stretch - Step forward into a lunge and with the opposite arm, reach up and slightly backwards. Hold this stretch for a few seconds as it opens up your abs, hips, quads, and lats. Make sure to keep your abs and glutes engaged with your hips parallel to the ground and your hips/knees/ankles in a straight line.
Arm Circles - While standing, stretch your arms out to the side parallel to the ground. Simultaneously start rotating them forward in circles. Start with small circles followed by medium and then large circles for ten seconds each. Repeat these with backward rotations. These will stretch your shoulders, arms, and back.
Forward Bend - Stand with your legs hip width apart and cross your arms to cup your elbows. Bend forward and allow your arms to sink towards your feet (or as far as your can). This will help warm up your spine and hamstrings.
Butterfly stretch - Sit with the bottoms of your feet touching each other so that your knees are bent outwards. Lean forward trying touch your chest to your feet while your elbows push your knees down. Hold this for 30 seconds.
Semi Spine Twist - Sit with your right leg extended in front of you and your left leg bend and crossed over your right. Press your right elbow into the bent left knee and twist your torso to look behind you. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
Arm Cross - Hold your right arm across your chest with palms facing the ground and fingers pointed out. Hold this position for 30 seconds using your left forearm. Repeat on the other side.
Tricep Stretch - Raise your left elbow upwards and try to reach your hand to your upper back. Use your right hand to hold your left elbow and gently push the hanging arm down. Done right, you will feel a stretch on your triceps.
These are just a few of the many stretches you can do. Protect your body and give them a try!