Stretching is an important component of any exercise routine, and this is especially true for runners. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, incorporating stretching into your pre- and post-run routine can have numerous benefits for your body and your overall performance.
Here are some of the top benefits of stretching before and after a run:
Improves flexibility and range of motion: Stretching helps to increase your flexibility and range of motion, making it easier for you to run and reducing the risk of injury.
Reduces muscle soreness: Regular stretching can help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness after a run, leaving you feeling more comfortable and ready for your next workout.
Increases blood flow: Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the areas that need it most.
Enhances performance: By improving your flexibility and range of motion, stretching can help to enhance your running performance, allowing you to run faster and farther.
Prevents injury: Regular stretching helps to warm up your muscles and reduce the risk of injury, especially when done before a run.
Now, let's take a look at the top 5 best stretches to do before and after a run:
Hamstring stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward, reaching towards your toes. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Quad stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold onto a wall or chair for balance. Bend one knee and hold your ankle with the same hand, keeping your knee pointing towards the ground. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall, with your hands against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot back, keeping your heel on the ground, and gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in your calf. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Hip flexor stretch: Kneel on one knee and step forward with the other foot, keeping the heel on the ground. Push your hips forward and feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Shoulder stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bring one arm across your chest, holding it with the other arm. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds and then switch sides.
Incorporating these stretches into your pre- and post-run routine can help to improve your flexibility, range of motion, and overall performance, while reducing the risk of injury and muscle soreness. If you have any questions or concerns about stretching, be sure to talk to us, so a physiotherapist can give you more for personalised advice.
If you enjoy running and want to prevent injury and understand more about your body, we offer a running prevention screening.