Spring is the perfect time of year to resume outdoor runs! Temperatures have increased and runners should no longer have to contend with icy conditions after a long winter.
Whether you jog on a trail, beach or roadside, this activity builds muscle strength, burns calories and can improve mood. Before you take off running, warm up your body and remember to cool down with the following stretches.
Before Your Run
Pre-run stretches can loosen the muscles, joints and activate the nervous system. A proper warmup can decrease injury risk and put you in the right mental state to perform your best!
1. Standing Knee Hugs
To relieve back tension, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lift your left knee. Balancing on your right foot, hug the left knee into your chest and hold. Repeat with your left foot on the ground and your right knee up.
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Tight muscles where your thighs meet your torso can cause hip and back pain. To stretch your hip flexors, drop to your right knee and plant your left foot in front of you. With both hands on your left knee, lean forward and straighten your right hip. Hold, then switch legs.
3. Seated Hamstring Stretch
Stretching the muscles that connect to your hip flexors, glutes and calves can help prevent back and knee pain. From a seated position, extend your left leg and keep your right leg bent. With the right foot resting on the inside of your left thigh, bend forward and reach for your left foot. Hold this position, then repeat with the right leg out.
4. Downward Dog
This yoga pose stretches out the calf muscles. Starting on all fours, lift your knees and walk your feet back into a plank position. Keeping your arms straight, push your hips up, press your heels down and hold.
5. Seated Twist
To stretch the back of your thighs and buttocks, start in a seated position with your legs out in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left and plant your right foot on the floor with the knee bent. Twist to your right and gently press that knee inward. Hold, untwist and repeat on the other side.
After Your Run
Post-run stretches can help prevent muscles from getting tight, increase your flexibility and improve performance on your next run.
1. Standing Quad Stretch
To stretch the muscles that cover the front and side of your thighs, start with both feet on the ground. Pull your left leg behind you and draw your shin to your thigh. Hold, then switch to the right leg.
2. Standing Calf Stretch
Neglecting your calves after a run to increase risk for injury. To stretch these muscles, stand with one leg behind the other. Bend your front leg forward and keep the back leg straight. Gently rock forward and back on the bent front leg, then repeat with the other leg forward.
3. Iliotibial Band Stretch
The IT band runs along the outside of your thigh. To stretch these muscles between your hip and shin, cross your left ankle behind your right. Raise your left arm overhead and lean to that side, so you feel the stretch in your right leg.
4. Butterfly Stretch
In this position, you can stretch out the inner thighs and groin. Sitting on the ground, bend your knees to bring the bottom of your feet together. Holding your feet with both hands, lean forward and slide your heels toward your body, pressing your knees down.
5. Piriformis Stretch
To stretch this small muscle behind the gluteus maximus, lie on your back with your knees bent. Crossing your left ankle over your right knee, pull your right leg to your chest. Hold until you feel a stretch in the back of your thighs and buttocks, then switch to the other side.
Regular chiropractic treatment is great for runners! To ease joint pain and improve flexibility, contact The Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury today.