You may decide to make the most of the last few days of Summer weather by taking your workout outside and going for a run. Running is a great way to get fit and have fun.
Among many other benefits, running improves:
The health of your heart and lungs
Your energy and stress levels
The tone and strength of your leg and hip muscles
Your bone density (reduces the risk of osteoporosis)
Stretches are an essential part of your running routine to avoid injuries. There are some important points to keep in mind to safely stretch your muscles after a run:
Never stretch a cold muscle
Hold each stretch for a slow count of 30
Repeat twice on each side
Don’t overstretch—be comfortable
Don’t 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 a chiropractor.
Here are five recommended stretches you can do after every run to target the major muscle groups:
Stretch your arms in front of you and place both hands on a sturdy object. Stand with feet comfortably apart with toes pointing towards the wall. Put one leg back about 12 inches from the other, keeping the knee straight and your foot flat on the ground. Bend the knee of the front leg so your hips move forward and lean into your hands. You should feel this stretch along the back of the leg below the knee.
| Lower calf
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
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
Place one foot up on a low surface about knee high with your hands on the thigh. Keep the knee of this leg straight with the toes pointing forward. Bend forward from the hips—not the waist. Keep your lower back flat by bringing your chest towards your knee rather than your head. You should feel this stretch along the back of the front leg above the knee.
From the back thigh stretch position, bend your front knee so that foot is now on the edge of the surface. Hands on hips, lean slightly forward over the bent leg. Keep the leg you are standing on straight. You should feel this stretch in the back of the hips and buttocks.
If you have other questions or concerns, talk to your local chiropractor about how to improve your running and prevent and manage injuries.