Do you stretch before you head out for a run? On an early morning you may forget to stretch your body because you’re more focused on getting your run completed. Next time you run out the door consider stretching to warm up your body and prepare you for your run.
Stretching is important because it gets your blood flowing and prepares your body for the work it is about to do. Stretching increases your flexibility and your range of motion. That means your joints and muscles are able to move more fluidly so that they will effectively carry you through a run.
Nobody wants to be at risk for an injury. Stretching helps make your muscles less prone to straining that could result in an injury.
Now that you know the importance of stretching here are 7 essential stretches to do before you run.
- Stretch your calves out by facing a wall and and propping your heel from your right leg on the ground with your toe on the wall.
- Push your body towards the wall to feel the stretch in your calf.
- Hold for 10 seconds and then switch legs.
If there isn’t a wall or straight edge near you simply prop your foot up on your heel and bend over the leg that is propped and grab onto your toes. This move will also stretch your calves. Hold for 10 seconds then switch to your other leg.
Next use this traditional stretch to stretch out your quads and your hip flexors.
- Use a nearby wall for support or challenge your balance if you’re able.
- Bend your knee and grab the foot pulling it towards your glutes.
- Pull your quad back of the leg that is lifted and level your hips to bring your quad even with your other knee.
- Hold for ten seconds and then switch to your other leg. Repeat stretch on each leg as needed.
- Stretch out your hamstrings and your back by starting out in a wide stance with your feet. Bend down to touch the ground or as far as you can. This move with also stretch out your back.
- Hold this hanging stretch for 10-20 seconds.
- To deepen this stretch place your hands or finger tips on the ground and walk them back further between your legs.
When you think of running you mainly think of using your legs, but your arms also important. Do this basic arm stretch to loosen up your arms before a run.
- Bring your left arm across your body and use your right arm to hook under your left elbow.
- With your right arm pull your left arm towards your body and over to the right. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Then move your left arm back to the left side and move your elbow pointing up next to the side of your head.
- With your right hand grab your elbow and pull your left arm back towards your back. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Switch sides and do both moves.
You don’t want to start out your run with tight hip flexors.
- To stretch out your hips go down into a lunge position.
- From standing step your left leg back and drop your left knee towards the ground.
- Sink low to where you can feel a stretch and push your left hip even with your right. Push forward into your left hip.
- Hold for 10 seconds then switch sides.
To make this stretch dynamic do a set of 10 walking lunges to warm up your core and legs.
Your chest is a vital area of your body to stretch. This move will not only open up your chest, but will stretch your shoulders as well.
- Interlace your fingers behind your back.
- Bend at the waist and fold over with while lifting your interlaced fingers off your back and up into the air.
- Hold for 10-20 seconds.
Leg kicks are an easy dynamic move to quickly add into your pre-running routine. Do these while you’re walking to your starting place.
- Start by kicking your right leg up to about hip level or to where you can feel a stretch.
- Then do the same for your left leg and alternate for 20 kicks total.
All it takes is a high enough kick where you can feel a slight stretch. You don’t want to over-do it and potentially pull a hamstring.
Once you do these stretches your body will be ready to carry you through your run!
Stretching is important to prevent leg cramps.
Do some warm ups before running or any workout to make your body ready for activities.