Running is a great exercise. It makes your legs strong, toned, but unfortunately, tight. After miles of forcing your muscles to flex and extend over and over, a good stretch before beginning can be a lifesaver. If you’re a runner or thinking about starting, here are five essential stretches for runners that will come in handy.
Every step you take on the road while running forces your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hips to flex and extend. That’s why it’s essential to get in a good stretch before beginning. It will relieve your hardworking muscles and tendons while preventing muscle imbalances, scar tissue, and tension.
To prevent injury and hasten recovery, perform dynamic stretches before you hit the pavement. If you’d like to keep in mind additional strategies for stretching, be sure to check out 7 Morning Stretches to Kickstart the Day.
Here are five stretches for runners to keep in mind:
The perfect exercise to loosen up your hips and glutes. Think of a swinging bell. You begin by standing on one leg (hold on to a steady object) and swing the other leg forward and back. Each leg should build till your close to the full range of motion. Do this about 20 times per leg. Here’s a link to a how-to video.
Laying down straight on a mat, flex one knee and pull it to your chest. Place your hands behind your thigh to prevent pressure on the knee. You’ll feel a great stretch on your low back and glutes.
While you’re still lying down, it’s time to love ourselves. Well, at least to hug our knees. Slowly bend both knees and bring them to your chest. Grip your shins and pull them in gently, holding them for 30 seconds. You’ll feel a great stretch on your lower back.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
While still seated, extend your left leg and leave the other leg bent on the bed. Your left foot should rest on your right thigh. Now bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight. You’ll feel this stretch on your hamstrings, near the back of the leg—a great stretch right before a run.
Standing back up, take a significant step and bend your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Push back upward, draw your left foot even with your right thigh, and step forward with the other foot. Aim for a total of 10 lunges per leg.
Did these stretches for runners help you? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great blog tips straight to your inbox each Friday. Enjoy!