A runner needs to increase mobility in the joints and muscles. This is where stretching comes in. Stretching helps in increasing flexibility and range of motion. A regular stretching routine helps avoid injury and improves flexibility. So, the next important thing to know is when to stretch.
While stretching before running prepares your body for the forthcoming workout, stretching afterwards helps your body cool down. Initially, the muscles are tight, and there is a risk of pulling a muscle or causing tissue damage. Post-run stretching is equally important as it helps reduce soreness and increases flexibility.
First, to take your heart rate down, break into a jog, or walk for a few minutes after your workout. Hold the following stretches for about thirty seconds. While stretching, take deep breaths.
1. Stretch for your Hamstring – Lie down. Make sure that both your legs are straight and your upper body is relaxed. To cool down your hamstring, pull one of your legs towards you.
2. Stretch for your Glutes and Hips – Place the edge of your knee on the floor and twist your lower leg. Extend your left leg behind you. The toes should be flat. Keep your back straight and press your upper body in the direction of your right knee.
3. Stretch for your Quadriceps – Keep your body straight and bend your foot. You can use your hand to balance.
4. Stretch for your Lower Calf – Stand close to a wall and bend one leg, while keeping the foot flat. There should not be a lot of pressure on your foot. You can intensify the stretch by leaning towards the wall.
5. Stretch for your upper body – Sit back on your heels, with your toes flat. Put your hands behind you, on the floor, and lean back. Press your knees towards the floor, push your hips forward and open your chest.
Remember that stretching is not supposed to cause discomfort; you are supposed to feel a slight pull and not pain. Start by practising these few easy stretches that would help you loosen up. Make stretching a part of your workout. Start stretching regularly and you will eventually notice a difference.