As summer approaches, sticking to an indoor exercise regime can be difficult as temperatures warm up. Running outdoors is a great way to take advantage of the weather, while keeping fit and improving energy and stress levels.
If you take your running routine outside, remember these 5 simple stretching tips to help avoid strains and pains.
|1. Upper Calf
Place your hands against a wall, or sturdy object in front of you. Stand feet comfortably apart, toes pointing forward. Put one leg back, keeping your heel flat on the ground. Gently bend the knee of the front leg, so your hips move forward and lean into your hands. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
You should feel the stretch along the back of the leg and below the knee.
|2. Lower Calf
Keeping the same position as the upper calf stretch, shift the foot of your back leg forward until your toes are just behind the heel of the front leg. Keep both heels on the ground and lower your hips by bending both knees. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
You should feel the stretch through the back of the ankle.
|3. Front of thigh
Standing near a sturdy object, place hand on it for balance and use your free hand to grasp your ankle or foot. Keeping your upper body straight, pull that heel up towards your buttock and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch for the other leg.
You should feel the stretch through the front of your leg.
|4. Back of thigh
Place one foot up on a low surface with your toes pointing upward. Place hands on that thigh. Keeping the leg on the ground straight, bend forward from the hips. Keep your lower back flat by bringing your chest towards your knee. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
You should feel the stretch along the back of the front leg.
From the back thigh stretch position, bend your front knee so that the foot is on the edge of the surface. Placing hands on your hips, lean slightly forward over the bent leg. Keep the leg you are standing on straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with other leg.
You should feel the stretch in the back of the hips and buttocks.
Follow these simple tips for a safe and pain free run. Remember, don’t overstretch and never stretch a cold muscle.
Healthy Running Tips (PDF)