Stretching is an important part of any exercise routine, and running is no exception. Stretching before and after a run can help reduce muscle stiffness and improve flexibility, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance. Here is a list of some stretches that can be performed before and after running:
Here is a list of stretches that you can do before running:
- Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall. Step back with one foot and bend the front leg, keeping the back leg straight and the heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg.
- Quadriceps stretch: Stand with one hand on a wall for balance. Bend your knee and bring your foot towards your buttock. Grasp your ankle with your other hand and gently push your knee down towards the ground. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Reach for your toes, keeping your knees as straight as possible. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs.
- Groin stretch: Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet touching. Slowly bring your feet in towards your body, trying to touch your knees to the ground. You should feel a stretch in your inner thighs.
- Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one leg with the other foot in front of you. Lean forward, keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip of the leg that is kneeling.
Here are a few stretches that you can do after a run:
- Quadriceps stretch: Stand with your left hand on a wall or a sturdy object for balance. Bend your right leg behind you, and hold onto your right ankle with your right hand. Gently push your hips forward, keeping your knees close together, until you feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Extend your arms and reach for your toes, keeping your legs as straight as possible. If you can’t reach your toes, loop a towel or a yoga strap around the balls of your feet and hold onto the ends.
- Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall, about an arm’s length away. Step forward with your left foot and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Keep your right leg straight and your heel on the ground as you lean forward into the wall. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Hip flexor stretch: Get into a lunge position with your left foot in front and your right foot behind you. Keep your right foot flat on the ground, and gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Chest and shoulder stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and interlace your fingers behind your back. Lift your arms up and away from your body, trying to straighten your elbows as much as possible. Hold for 30 seconds.
Remember to listen to your body and only stretch to the point of discomfort. Stretching should not be painful.
Here is a list of stretching aids that can be used to aid in stretching exercises:
- Resistance bands: As previously discussed, resistance bands can be a useful tool for providing resistance during stretching exercises and can target specific muscle groups.
- Yoga blocks: Yoga blocks can be used to support the body during stretching exercises, allowing for a deeper stretch and helping to prevent injury.
- Foam rollers: Foam rollers can be used for self-massage and can help to release tension in the muscles, making it easier to stretch.
- Stretching straps: Stretching straps can be used to aid in reaching and holding stretches, particularly for those who may have difficulty with flexibility.
- Balance board: Balancing boards can help to increase stability and core strength, which can in turn aid in stretching exercises.
- Massage ball: Massage balls can be used to apply pressure to specific areas of the body, helping to release tension and improve range of motion.
- Pilates ring: Pilates ring can be used to resist movement, which helps to improve strength and stability, and can also be used as an assistive device for stretching.
- Medicine ball: can be used as a prop for stretching exercises, adding weight to the movement or for balance during stretching exercises.
This list is not exhaustive, and there are many other stretching aids that can be used depending on your goals and needs.