Summer Running Tips
There are many benefits to running including helping:
- improve your cardiovascular health, including the health of your heart and lungs
- raise your energy and stress levels
- the tone and strength of your leg and hip muscles
- increase your bone density thereby reducing your risk of osteoporosis
Stretches are an essential part of your running routine to avoid injuries. Some important points to keep in mind to safely stretch your muscles after a run are:
- avoid stretching a cold muscle or a body part that is not warmed up; instead, warm up beforehand by going through the motions of running, such a slow jog using exaggerated arm and leg motions
- hold each stretch for a count of 30 seconds
- repeat on each side
- the goal is not pain or overstretching but rather staying comfortable and feeling a gentle pull or stretch
- do not bounce when stretching
If you suffer an injury or experience pain that lasts longer than your usual post-workout soreness, ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation and consult your chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Here are four stretches you can try after every run to target your major muscle groups:
Stretch your arms our in front of you and place both hands on a sturdy object. Stand with your feet comfortably apart with toes pointing towards the wall. Have one leg back about 12 inches from the other, keeping your knee straight and your back foot flat on the ground. Bend your front knee so your hips move forward and lean into your hands. You should feel this stretch along the back of the leg below the knee.
Adopt the same position as for the upper calf stretch. Shift the foot of your back leg forward until the toes are just behind the heel of the front leg. Keep both heels on the ground with toes pointing forward. Lower your hips by bending both knees. You should feel this stretch through the back of the ankle.
Front of Thigh (Quadriceps)
Stand near a wall, bench or a post and put one hand on it for balance. Grasp your ankle or foot with the other hand. Keep your upper body straight and pull your heel up towards your buttock. The knee of the leg you are bending should point towards the ground. If you are able to touch your buttock with the heel of the foot, gently extend the hip by moving the knee backwards. You should feel this stretch through the front of the leg above the knee.
Back of Thigh (Hamstring)
Place one foot up on a low surface about knee high with your hands on your thigh. Keep the knee of this leg straight with the toes pointing forward. Bend forward from your hips, not your waist. Keep your lower back straight by bringing your chest towards your knee rather than your head. You should feel this stretch along the back of the front leg above your knee.