I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again……STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH, AND THEN STRETCH SOME MORE!!!
I’ve had a number of injured runners approach me lately, wanting me to help them. A common theme that I’m finding is little to no stretching and poor flexibility = varying degrees of tightness in the joints and muscles.
Stretching prevents injury
As athletes, we tend to only take the time to stretch when we are injured, instead of working on preventing the injury in the first place. Our muscles are constantly being contracted (shortened) as we workout, so it’s really important to stretch, (lengthen) them back out again after.
If we do not, then our muscles remain tight, and continue to tighten further, the more we use them without adequate stretching, running the risk of injury.
Feel good and look good
Stretching not only makes you flexible, but it also strengthens and tones the muscles, so you not only feel good, but you look good too…a win, win situation!
How often to stretch
When I talk about STRETCHING, I’m not talking about the 5 to maybe 10 minutes that you spend after a workout lifting your legs in the air, I’m talking about a good 20-30 minutes at least 3 times a week. In a perfect world, every day, but as a working, training mother of 4, I know that’s not always feasible.
YOGA is a wonderful way to gain strength, flexibility and incorporate some relaxation into our busy lives. I’ve recently taken to doing YOGA before my runs, and I’m finding that my legs and body feel stronger, almost powerful. Flexibility and strength also go a long way in improving leg turnover, and can enhance running, cycling and swimming speed.
So come on athletes…..take the time to STRETCH! You’ll be glad you did. Take a YOGA class, buy a DVD, but hit the floor! You choose, 30 mins, 3-4 times a week of relaxing, feel good, strengthening, toning exercises, or day after day of tightness, pain, stress and complaints?!! I see it all the time!
I know where I’d rather have my body be 🙂
Here are some easy YOGA poses to get you started, plus some strengthening and stretching exercises for runners.