The Five Best Stretches for Runners
Running is an excellent form of exercise. It’s a great way to lose weight, strengthen muscles, and even clear your mind; plus, it's free! But because running puts a strain on so many muscles – specifically those in the legs, feet, and back – stretching before you head out (and when you're done) is essential. If you fail to stretch, there's a good chance you could end up with sore, tight muscles, and you could very well be in a great deal of pain. But what kind of stretches should you do? Let's take a look.
The knee hug aims to stretch out the muscles in the back, thus preventing and relieving tension. To do this simple stretch, lie flat on the ground, slowly bend your knees up to the chest, round your arms around your knees and gently pull them in, holding for 30 seconds. Slowly release the legs and draw them back down to the floor. Repeat ten times.
Stand Quad Stretch
The quads (quadriceps) are the muscles that are located in the front of the thigh. Quad stretches prevent them from tightening. To do this stretch, stand up tall with the feet position hip-width apart, bend the left knee and bring the left foot up behind you, toward your buttocks, grab your left foot with your left hand, keep the knee pointed down to the floor while slightly pushing the hips forward while holding the knees and thighs together. Hold this for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat ten times.
This simple yoga pose helps to stretch the muscles in the torso, back, and shoulders. Put your knees on the ground with your toes pointed out behind you, rest your buttocks on your feet, bend forward at your waist, and lower your chest down to your knees. Stretch your arms out above your head, laying your hands flat on the ground with your elbows straight out. Gently reach forward, hold the position for 30 seconds, and then bring your arms back in and sit up slowly.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
This stretch prevents the hamstrings, the large muscles that run up the backs of the thighs, from becoming tight, thus preventing knee and lower back pain. Sit down on the floor, extend your left leg, and bend your right knee to tuck in your right leg. Try keeping your back straight and slowly bend forward at your waist. Grab onto your left lower leg, ankle, or foot, hold the position for 30 seconds, and return to a seated position. Release and repeat with the right leg.
Ankle Heel Lifts
The ankles stabilize your feet and help to push your body forward while you're running. Ankle heel lifts prevent them from becoming strained and can prevent them from becoming tired. While standing with your back straight, slowly raise yourself up onto the balls of your feet (avoid locking the knees), hold the position for 10 seconds, then lower your heels back onto the floor. Repeat at least three times.
- GrivetOutdoors.com _