Being physically active regularly during the COVID times might seem like a “stretch” and mundane for runners, but it doesn’t restrict you from performing essential physical activities like stretching exercises. They are some of the most effective ways to retain your body’s flexibility and keep your healthy lifestyle on track.

Athletes and runners have been prepared for a situation like this for years, with at-home workouts, which require little space and no equipment. Let’s check out 5 of the best stretching exercises that you can conveniently do at home to keep your body in top-notch shape:

1. The Cobra Pose Stretch

This particular stretching exercise focuses on back stretches, which helps you in maintaining a healthy posture while running. Here’s how you can perform the perfect Cobra Pose:

  • Lie down on a mat on your stomach
  • Keep your feet together, and arms stretched towards the sides
  • Place your palms beside your head, and raise your upper body, creating a backwards arch shape
  • Maintain the position for at least 20 seconds

2. The Bridge Pose Stretch

This stretching exercise targets the entire body and flexes the muscles optimally to keep your body shape intact. This pose is a perfect hamstring stretch for runners, and helps in warming up the hips thigh muscles. Here’s how to perform the Bridge Stretch:

  • Lie on your back on a mat, with your arm stretched on the side
  • Bend your knees 90 degrees, and slowly & steadily lift your body upwards
  • While lifting your body, all your weight should fall on your feet and shoulders
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times with small breaks in between

3. Hip Flexor Stretch

This stretch helps you in loosening your hip flexor and thigh muscles, which is a very effective cooling down exercise for runners. Here’s how to perform it:

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Put your left foot forward, so that you are in a staggered stance.
  • Perform a lunge. Keep your right leg straight behind you with your toes on the ground.
  • Put your right hand on the floor and slowly twist your upper body to the left as you extend your left arm toward the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

4. Hamstring Stretch Exercise

Hamstring stretches are especially important for runners, as they are beneficial in maintaining the lower body muscle structure. Here’s how to perform it:

  • Lie on your back with your legs placed on the floor and your back straight
  • Ensure your lower back is on the floor straight, and your hips are level
  • Bend your left knee and keep your left leg extended on the floor
  • Slowly straighten your right knee on the floor, grabbing the back of your leg with both hands
  • Slowly pull your right leg towards you while keeping your hips on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on your left side

5. Calf Stretch Exercise

Calf Stretch exercise is beneficial in increasing the endurance and the mobility of the legs. This is especially helpful for runners as a warming-up exercise before they go on a long run.

  • To stretch out the calf, lean against a wall with your forearms in front of your body
  • Put your forward leg with your toe near to the wall
  • Bend the knee of the leg you put forth and slowly move your hips forward
  • Keep your lower back flat and the heel on the floor
  • Hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Then repeat the same steps for the other leg

Conclusion

Now that you know about the stretching exercises you can conveniently perform at home, it’s time to get to work. The next time you’re out for a run, these stretches will help you stretch your distance and duration optimally. All you need to do is take out your mat, and hustle!

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