Important Stretches For Runners
It is essential for runners to stretch before their run to prevent injury. Running without stretching is like running a machine without proper oiling. Here are some crucial stretches for runners to keep them far from injuries.
1. Walking Lunges
Lunges is one of the simple stretches for runners. Start with standing on your feet together, and take a step forward with your right foot, preferably long. Make a right angle with the front knee and the back knee until it is close to the ground. Remain in this position for a while and try to straighten the back leg, such that you feel a stretch in the left thigh. Then, rise and take a big step forward with your left knee to get the time on your left side. Continue this way for about ten lunges (five on each side).
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Begin in a lunge with your front knee at right angles. Proceed to straighten your back leg, so you feel a stretch in your back thigh. Keep your toes aligned with the front knee. Lift your arms over your head and remain for a while, then let go. Continue this cycle in a rhythmic motion, shift forward as you lift your arms, then bringing your arms down as you come back to the starting position. Repeat five times, and then switch sides.
3. Side Stretch
Start from a standing position. You can add this side stretch to a kneeling hip flexor stretch. Raise your arms over your head and, while keeping your core tight, proceed to lean to the right, and then to the left, curving at the waist. Do this movement dynamically, holding for one or two breaths on each side before switching.
4. Hip Circle
Start with putting your hands over your hips and your feet shoulder-width apart. Proceed to circle your hips in one direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. Make the radius broader and broader until you reach your full range of motion. After about seven to ten rotations in one direction, switch directions. It is one of the more comfortable stretches for runners.
5. Calf Raise
Calf Raise may be the simplest stretches for runners. Start with standing on the edge of a stair, so that only the front of your feet are on the base of the stair and your heels are over the side. If necessary, hold onto a stair rail for balance. Try to lift yourself with your toes, and then lower yourself, so that your heels are below the stair and you start to feel a stretch in your calves. Hold the position for few seconds before lifting and repeating. You can also do this stretch on one foot at a time.
6. Standing Quad Stretch
Bend either of your knees and grab your ankle from the outside. Pull your foot in toward your buttock of that side and stay there for about ten seconds. Repeat this a few times and then switch sides. Keep your torso straight and align your head and shoulders over your hips throughout the motion. It’s important not to overdo it before your routine. Just take the stretch to the point where you start to feel resistance, not pain or discomfort.