We always tell runners to finish off with some stretches. It’s not just hollow advice because stretching plays a crucial role in how your muscles recover after a run.
When it comes to stretching there are a few things that runners must remember. Between static and dynamic stretching, it is better to indulge in dynamic stretching. An active warm-up incorporating dynamic stretches better prepares your muscles for the activity to follow.
Dynamic stretching involves a lot more movement and is not restricted just for your lower body. Despite your legs seemingly doing most of the work, your entire body is engaged in the act of running. You can always start with a few light stretches before your warmup, but always remember to finish off your day with some too.
Every time you raise your foot from the ground, your calf muscles contract to make that happen. Show your calves some stretch loving by doing 15 reps of calf raises on each foot. If you want to intensify your calf raises, find a step, balance on your toes and then proceed to do your raises.
Everybody hates lunges and that’s because the degree of annoying for an exercise is inversely proportional to how good it is for you. Up your lunge game by going for a walking lunge instead of a static lunge. Great for hamstrings, which help you in running with less strain.
Stand straight, fold one foot, grab it with your hand and pull it towards your buttock. Make sure you keep your torso upright. Spend 10 seconds and then swap legs. This opens up your quad muscles and gets you run ready.
Your hips do a lot of work when you run. Hip circles open up the joints and muscles in this area. Stand with your hands on your hips. Do 10 circles clockwise and 10 more counter-clockwise
Do this to avoid side stitches while running. Stand straight, with your arms over your head, torso taut, lean to one side, hold for a bit and then lean to the other side. Bend only from your waist.
These are 5 basic stretches that you should get familiar with before every run. Your muscles stay happy and you remain injury free.
Main image: Freestockphotos.biz