Whether you're training for your first marathon or your hundredth marathon, all of those miles put a lot of strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your legs. In order to make sure this strain does not lead to injury, it's important to stretch effectively. Stretching loosens the muscles in your legs so they don't put unneeded pressure on your tendons and ligaments. Most runners do at least some stretching after their runs, but stretching before your runs can further reduce your risk of injury by loosening your muscles before your feet hit the pavement.
Experts recommend doing dynamic stretches, which are stretches that involve movement, before a run. This type of stretch warms the muscles up and increases your heart rate, so you're primed and ready for action when you take that first running stride. Here's a look at three dynamic stretches to try before your next run:
To perform leg swings, stand with one foot flat on the ground, and swing the other leg forward and backward 15 times. Then, swing that same leg from side-to-side 15 times before switching legs. This exercise loosens up your hips, which will reduce your risk of hip-related injuries such as IT band syndrome and hip bursitis.
Start with both legs together, and then take a big step forward. Sink your weight down, bending your front leg at the knee until the thigh is parallel with the floor. Rise up again, and repeat the motion with the opposite leg. Try to do 10 - 15 moving lunges per leg. Lunges stretch out the muscles in your thighs and lower legs, so they're a good all-around stretch. If you're short on time and only have time for one stretch, choose moving lunges.
Start in a crouched position, with your weight resting on your toes and supported by your hands, which should be touching the floor just in front of your legs. Leap up towards the sky, stretching your arms upwards as you jump. If you do frog jumps barefoot, they stretch the muscles in your feet as well as those in your legs. Do 10- 15 frog jumps to thoroughly stretch your feet, legs and lower back.
When most people think of stretching, they think of static stretches, such as reaching for their toes. Dynamic, moving stretches are another kind of stretch to work into your training routine. By doing a few of these before each run, you'll start your runs looser and reduce your risk of injuries.
For more tips on how to prevent sports injuries, or how to treat any you may already have, consider contacting a local clinic, like Conroy Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.Share
9 January 2015
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