These stretching exercises after crossing the finish line will help you recover quickly and refuel you for the next run.
“Static stretching can temporarily reduce a muscle’s performance for up to 24 hours, so it’s best to warm a muscle using dynamic stretches before a run.”
These stretching exercises will make your next run feel easier. You should follow these stretches at least for a minute and can last up to 10 minutes post-run. It will not only improve your running range of motion but also your muscular coordination. Stretching is vital after running because it prevents the aches and sprains related to running.
- Hamstring Stretch
Basically, this stretch will loosen up the tight hamstrings. Tight hamstrings result in lower back pain and pulled muscles. The hamstring stretch can be both achieved with a bent knee or by lifting your leg high up.
Lie down on your back straight. Then extend your legs. Bend your left knee and rise grabbing the back of your left leg with both your hands. Meanwhile, the right leg must rest on the ground straight. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and then repeat it by lifting your right leg.
Benefit: Hamstring flexibility and stimulates sciatic nerve
- Calf Stretch
Calf muscles are small and often get neglected. However, the strain in these muscle joints will stride your post-run joy. Flexible calf muscles boost the length of your run and speed.
Approach a wall or a barrier in front of you. Try keeping a distance of 12 inches from the wall. Then extend your arms and touch the wall. Now, move ahead of your left leg and bend your knee stretching the calf. Hold this for 30-60 seconds. Then repeat it with the other leg.
Benefit: Reduces strain in your foot and the front part of the leg
- ITB Stretch
Many runners experience tightness in the Iliotibial Band (ITB). The ITB muscle runs from the hips to the outside of the knee.
Stand up and then cross your legs with your right leg ahead. Then, bend towards your left side until you feel a stretch on the right ITB. Lift your right hand and bend to the left side. Remain in this position for a few seconds and repeat it with the left leg forward.
Benefit: Prevent knee and overuse injuries, reduce the risk of IT band syndrome
- Butterfly Stretch
This is also called the groin stretch. It targets the hip adductors which are tiny muscles in your inner thighs near the groin. The adductors are used while opening and closing your legs.
Sit down on the ground; bring your legs closer with your knees bent. Hold your feet with both your hands. Then raise your thighs and lower them in a cycle. Repeat this a few times. Once you’re comfortable doing this, try bending your head and upper part towards the ground in the same position. Be in this position up to 60 seconds.
Benefit: Stretches the inner thighs and helps in lower body fitness
- Quad Stretch
The quadriceps is the front thigh of your body. These are powerful muscles and help you during your run. The muscles tend to become sore after a long and tiring run.
Stand up on your feet. Lift your left leg with the help of your left hand. Keep the right leg straight. Now, stay in this position with your lifted leg up to 30 seconds. Release and repeat this stretch with the right leg. Once you’ve achieved perfection, you may follow this stretch without using your hands.
Benefit: Keeps quadriceps loose and strengthens hamstrings
Conclusion: These stretches will hold your muscle for 30-60 seconds and will improve muscle flexibility. You won’t take long to realize it! You will definitely feel amazing after the run with these exercises!