Running is a form of aerobic exercise that effectively burns calories, strengthens the muscles, improves bone density, and boosts heart health. It’s a great way to stay in shape, and it never fails to put anyone in a good mood. Consequently, it improves quality of life.
If you’re planning to include running in your exercise regimen, remember to start low and go slow. This means that you’ll have to walk before you can run—take the time to just warm up the muscles by brisk walking then gradually increase your speed according to your level of fitness.
Running is a high-impact exercise. If done without utmost precaution, it can cause more harm than good to a person’s overall health. Stretches and dynamic warm-up exercises help your muscles recover faster after training and keep you from sustaining running and walking injuries; these are essential in preparing your muscles and bones before you start running to make sure that you’ll be in your top performance.
Below is a list of the five best stretches to avoid running injuries:
1. Calf Raises
Calf raises not only stretch your calves, but also loosen your tibiotalar joints to prevent ankle sprains.
To do calf raises, begin in an upright standing position with your feet hip-width apart, then lift your heels slowly and hold the stretch for a moment before returning to the floor. Repeat the process 10-15 times.
To turn this into a dynamic warm-up exercise, do jumping calf raises by jumping up about 1-2 inches high and land softly with the balls of your feet.
Squats activate all the muscle groups in your legs while also engaging your core muscles, giving you more stability when running.
To do the squats, begin in an upright standing position with your feet hip-width apart, stick your butt out while squatting down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or as low as you can go, then hold the stretch for 1-3 seconds before you go back to your upright standing position. Repeat the process 10-15 times.
To turn this into a dynamic warm-up exercise, do jumping squats by jumping up with your arms raised above your head instead of just going back to the upright standing position.
3. Alternating Knee Raises
This type of stretching is packed with serious benefits. It stretches your back and hips to help prevent or reduce lower back pain while also working on your abdominals. It also promotes better posture and improves your balance, coordination, and agility.
To do the knee raises, begin in an upright standing position with your feet hip-width apart, raise your knees as close to the chest as possible, then go back to your normal standing position. Repeat the process with your other leg and continue alternating for about 10 raises for each knee.
To turn this into a dynamic warm-up exercise, do knee raises while walking or do it faster as if you’re running in place.
4. Alternating Lunges
This type of stretching loosens up the quads and hip flexors in movements that simulate the motion of running which makes it one of the best pre-run stretches.
To do the alternating lunges, begin in an upright standing position with your feet hip-width apart, then take a long step forward and bend the front knee as low as you can for, at least, five seconds, then go back to your normal standing position. Repeat the process with your other leg and continue alternating for about five lunges for each leg.
To turn this into a dynamic warm-up exercise, do walking lunges or jumping alternate lunges.
5. Toe touches
This classic stretching exercise primarily targets your hamstrings and the muscles on your lower back as well as the joints. It’s ideally done as the last of your pre-run stretching exercises— when the muscles are already warm.
To do the toe touches, begin in an upright standing position with your feet hip-width apart, then bend your upper body forward to try to touch your toes with your fingers and your knees just very slightly bent until you feel a tight stretch in the back of your thighs. Stand back up and pull your shoulders back and push your chest out. Repeat the steps about 10-15 times. To turn this into a dynamic warm-up exercise, jump up with your arms raised above your head instead of going back to the upright standing position.
These pre-run stretching exercises will not only prevent running injuries, but will also get your blood flowing and your adrenaline pumping. These will help you become more flexible, increasing your athletic abilities and making you more capable of performing your workouts better to produce maximum results.
You can also include some push-ups with your stretches—not necessarily a pre-run warm-up, but it’ll help improve your balance and posture when running.
The information provided are useful and intended for core and lower limbs muscle groups. Easy to understand and practical. Well done