Five Simple Post-Run Stretches To Add to Your Post-Workout Routine

Five Simple Post-Run Stretches

 

Running and exercise are good for the body, but it's important to make sure you stretch afterwards. If not done properly, it can lead to muscle stiffness and injury it is very common for people to neglect stretching after a workout or run and often times this is because they feel like they don't have enough time for it. However, stretching doesn't need to take up any time at all as it can be done in as little as five minutes. These five simple stretches will help your muscles stay healthy and prevent injuries that could happen if you don't stretch out after exercising.

1. Kneeling hip flexor stretch

The hip flexors are the group of muscles in the area where the thighs meet the torso. Tight hip flexors can cause hip and lower back pain, especially in runners.

Due to the role that they play in lifting the legs, tight hips can interfere with a runner’s progress. Extended periods sitting at a desk or in a car can also contribute to tightness in the hip flexors.

To do a kneeling hip flexor stretch, follow these instructions:

  1. From a standing position, slide the right foot behind the body and drop down to the right knee.

  2. Rest both hands on the left knee.

  3. Gently lean the body forward and straighten the right hip.

  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

  5. Pull the right foot back in toward the body and stand up. Switch legs and repeat.

     

2. Standing quad stretch

The quadriceps or “quads” are the muscles in the front of the thigh. Without proper stretching, activities such as running and biking can cause tight quads.

When these muscles become tense and tight, they can lead to misalignment in the hips and back, which can result in pain. The quadriceps also help support the knee, so having strong and flexible quads can help alleviate knee pain.

To do a standing quad stretch, a person should:

  1. Stand up straight with the feet hip-width apart. If necessary, put the left hand on a wall or sturdy object for balance.

  2. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot up behind the body toward the buttocks.

  3. Grab the right foot with the right hand.

  4. Keep the right knee pointed toward the floor and gently push the hips forward very slightly, keeping the knees and thighs together.

  5. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

 

3. Toe touch

This stretch can also improve the flexibility of the hamstrings.

To do a toe touch, a person can:

  1. Stand with the feet together or shoulder-width apart.

  2. Keep the knees straight but not locked.

  3. Bending at the hips, slowly lower the head down toward the knees, keeping the back as straight as possible.

  4. Reach the fingers toward the toes, and let the neck relax.

  5. Hold for up to 30 seconds.

  6. Rise slowly back up to standing.

 

4. Ankle mobility heel lifts

The ankles work hard while a person is running to stabilize the feet and propel the body forward. However, these small joints are also prone to injuries, such as strains and sprains. People can improve ankle mobility with this stretch:

  1. Stand with the back straight.

  2. Slowly rise up onto the balls of the feet, taking care not to lock the knees.

  3. Hold for 10 seconds.

  4. Lower the heels back down to the floor.

  5. Repeat the exercise 3 times.

 

5. The wall push

Running without stretching can lead to tight calves. Tight calves can create heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. Many athletes also know the pain of a muscle spasm, or “Charley horse,” in the calf due to tight muscles in this part of the body. To stretch out tight calves after a run:

  1. Face a wall, standing about an arm’s length away from it.

  2. Put both hands on the wall at shoulder height.

  3. Take a large step backward with the right foot. Keep the back straight.

  4. Press the hands into the wall and both heels into the floor.

  5. Feel the stretch in the right calf.

  6. Hold for 30 seconds.

  7. Bring the right foot back in toward the body, switch sides, and repeat.

 

By implementing these five simple stretches into your post-workout routine, you will find yourself performing better and more efficiently on a day-to-day basis. By stretching out your muscles, you'll increase blood flow which allows more oxygen to reach the muscles that are being stretched. This helps reduce fatigue, decrease the chance of injury, and improves flexibility which can help with posture and running form.

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