Stretching is the last thing you want to do when you’ve finished a sweaty morning run, but it is essential. Although you’d rather hop in the shower and collapse back into bed, stretching will help you cool down and prevent aching the next day. Express.co.uk tells you how to stretch after a run.
The NHS website stresses the importance of stretching after exercise and offers seven stretches you can do after a run.
The advice says: “Performing stretching exercises after a run will help you cool down gradually and improve your flexibility.
“These stretches are best done after exercising when your muscles are warm and more elastic.
“Breathe deeply and regularly during the stretches.
“Aim to stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort.
“You shouldn’t feel any pain when doing these exercises. If you do, stop and seek medical advice.”
The NHS advises you to hold each stretch for 15 seconds.
Iliotibial band stretch
Your iliotibial band, also known as your ITB, is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to your outer knee and shinbone.
Ever heard of runner’s knee? It’s also known as ITB syndrome and occurs from overusing your ITB.
This can lead to pain, irritation, and inflammation around the knee.
If you stretch your ITB, the muscles around it will become more flexible and stronger.
This will prevent ITB-related-injuries from happening.
Keeping both feet on the ground, lean to your left side and push your right hip outwards.
Don’t bend forward or stick your buttocks out. Repeat with the other leg.
You should feel the stretch along your outer right thigh and hip.
Your calves are prone to tearing if they are really tight.
If you stretch calves after running, you’re more likely to prevent injuries.
Stretching your calf muscles will provide better support for your lower legs, feet, and ankles.
All of these need to be healthy for running, so this stretch is perfect for those who frequently run.
Step your right leg forward, bend your front leg, and keep your back leg straight. Both feet should point forwards.
Push your left heel into the ground, keeping your left leg straight and repeat with the other leg.
You should feel the stretch at the back of your left leg, below the knee.
Lower back stretch
It’s frustrating when you love exercising but your lower back reacts badly to it.
Many runners experience lower back pain because of the stress and impact running puts on your body.
If the bones in your vertebrae are aggravated already, running will make the pain worse.
Don’t worry, you can stretch to avoid this.
Lie on your back with both feet flat. Pull your right knee to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back.
Hold for up to 15 seconds and repeat with the left leg.
Then pull both knees to your chest and hold for up to 15 seconds.
Yes, that’s right. You need to stretch your bum after you’ve completed a run.
Your glutes will tighten up if you overuse them during exercise, and this can lead to a number of other injuries.
Stretch your buttocks after you run to relax the muscles and alleviate pain.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands and pull the left leg toward your chest. Repeat with the other leg.