Did you know stretching is supposed to be one-third of your workout? If you have time to go for a 40 minute run, you have time for minimum of 5 minutes of stretching before and after you exercise — your body will appreciate some TLC.
Before you start your stretch, jog for 5-10 minutes to wake up your body.
Stretch slowly, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds.
- Use a wall (or, if you’re outside, a tree) to do a wall pushup. Put your hands on the wall with your arms straight. Lean your hips forward and bend your knees slightly to stretch your calves. Then, rock back on your heels to stretch your hips and your shoulders.
- Standing on one foot, bring your heel to your butt to stretch your quad. Repeat on the other leg.
- One foot at a time, stand on your toes and rotate your ankle in each direction. While doing this, grab your elbow with the opposite hand and gently push the elbow up and across your body to stretch your back. Take the arm over your head and down your back to stretch your triceps. Change arms and ankles and repeat.
- Bend over at the waist and try to touch your toes, but don’t force it. Just let your body hang there, stretching out the backs of your legs.
- Sit down and pull the soles of your feet together. This butterfly stretch will stretch out your groins.
This routine will only take you five minutes, and will keep muscles from tightening up during the run.
Repeat the pre-run stretches after you cool down. It is very important to stretch after a run to prevent the buildup of lactic acid. It’s also important to drink water! You should shoot for 8 cups a day.
You’ll quickly notice the effects of stretching: muscles will recover with more ease from a tough workout, and before you know it you’ll be able to touch those toes!
Olivia M. Bowser
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