Stretching exercise is an essential part of any running regimen. Better stretching exercise can result in improved flexibility and overall performance since the muscles can work properly and recover from exercise much quicker. Doing stretching can also help in preventing possible injuries.
Stretching exercises must be done if the body is warm, so before doing stretching before running, perform an initial warm-up jog. And it is also recommended to do stretching exercise after a run since the muscles are warm, so flexibility is maximized.
Here are 5 great stretches from Life Essential Health Center for runners that every runner should know:
Hip Flexor Stretch
To do this exercise, stand straight with one leg forward about 1 to 2 feet away from the other with the forward knee bending and maintaining the back leg straight. Doing this will pull the hip flexor of the back leg. To better perform the stretching exercise, bend your knee further and thrust your pelvis forward. Hold this for a minimum of 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Runners normally have tight hamstring muscles and this muscle group is the easiest to pull during running, so it is c to stretch these muscles before and after a run.
Stretching your hamstring can be done by lying on your back with hips squared and with one leg left on the ground, raise the other leg up and bend it going to your chest.
Using both your hands, hold the back of your leg and gently straighten the bent leg and keep this position for about 10 to 30 seconds. If you want to reduce the intensity, just bend your knee a bit.
For stretching the quadriceps, stand with both feet together, kick one leg back and then catch it using the hand on the same side. Keep your knees aligned and thrust your pelvis forward to obtain a much better stretch. Hold this for 20 seconds and do the other side.
Your calf muscles help to develop your speed by increasing your stride. To do the stretching for your calf muscles, lean on the wall with both your hands and stand on your feet about 30 centimeters away. With feet flat on the floor, extend one leg behind you and bring the other leg inside, with the foot on the floor and knee bent. Hold this for about 10 to 30 seconds and repeat with another leg.
This type of exercise is great for the back muscles and also for the pelvis. Do this by lying on your back with bended knees and arms at your sides on the ground and palms down. Beginning with the tailbone, gently bend your spine upward to create a straight line in the middle of the knees and shoulders. Hold this position for about 5 seconds and gradually increase to 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise for 10 times, slowly holding for long periods with every stretch.