Injuries can hinder you from hitting your fitness goals on time. As a runner, getting minor injuries too often is definitely not what you want. Stretching exercises are known to strengthen the muscles and also improve circulation, and doctors recommend that you strengthen your muscles before and after an exercise routine.
Stretching also helps to improve flexibility, so that the muscles and joints are able to move freely and smoothly, reducing the risk of injuries. Studies further show that a dynamic warm-up routine can boost performance, and you definitely won’t like to miss out on this as a runner.
Below are some stretching exercises to engage in
1. Walking lunges
Stand upright with your feet together and step your right foot forward, with your knee at 90 degrees and the other knee close to the floor. Maintain the pose for a few seconds, then straighten the back leg till you feel a stretch through the front of your left thigh. Return to the original position, and step forward with your left leg to get the stretch on your left side. Keep repeating and alternating sides until you complete about 10 lunges.
2. Leg flexor stretch
Stand upright and extend your right arm forward. Then bend your knee so that it is at 90 degrees in front of you, and keep your thigh parallel to the ground while you swing your right arm to the back and your left arm to the front. Now, contract your quads and extend your legs forward. Return to your feet and repeat the process on the other leg.
3. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
Begin in a lunge position, keeping your front knee at 90 degrees, and straighten the back leg so that you feel a stretch through the front of your back thigh. Now, raise your arms over your head and maintain this pose for a few seconds, then release and continue in a dynamic motion. Shift forward while you raise your arms, and return to the starting position while you lower your arms. Keep repeating and switching sides.
4. Plantar flexor stretch
Stand upright with your hands on your hips, with your right foot raised a few inches and your knee straight. Flex your foot, quickly, while you point your toes upward. Return to the starting position and repeat the same thing on the other foot.
These stretching exercises will definitely make you a better runner if you keep up with them. So don’t focus too much on the actual running, without paying enough attention to stretching properly.
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