9 Essential Post-Run Stretches

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9 Essential Post-Run Stretches

After a run, post-run stretches are not always what you have at the top of your mind. However, post-run stretches can make a huge difference in how you will feel the next day and overtime.

After a run, you will need to do post-run stretches, get some hydration, and some nutrition. Post-run stretches help in the realignment of your muscle fibers, increase mobility, and speed up your recovery process after a run.

Before you run, dynamic stretching provides you with flexibility for the long term. Post-run stretches, on the other hand, aid recovery.

Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching

Dynamic stretching prepares your ligaments, muscles, and soft tissues to prepare you for a run. These stretches entail controlled movements. Dynamic stretching is a warm-up routine,

Static stretching entails exercises wherein you stand, lie still, or sit and hold a position for about 45 seconds. Static stretching is a cool-down routine to help reduce the risks of injury.

Why you Need Post Run Stretches

Your body puts in a lot of effort when you run.

  • You sweat a lot.
  • You breathe heavily.
  • Your feet, legs, and arms do several repetitions of similar back and forth movements.
  • Your heart rate increases.

Stretching after running gradually cools down your body. It also helps make your body more flexible.

Post-run stretching exercises are done when your muscles are elastic and warm. You need to breathe deeply while doing your stretches. You should also push your limits when stretching to the point of feeling slight discomfort and tightness.

Why do you need to do post-run stretches?

There have been many arguments about post-run stretches. Most runners, however, will tell you that you should not skip post-run stretches. You need to cool-down after every run.

Post-run stretches can be beneficial to your health:

  • For better alignment of your joints
  • To strengthen your connected tissues.
  • To improve muscle remodeling.
  • To expand your range of motion to improve your running form.
  • To prevent injury and muscle soreness.
  • Better flexibility
  • To help you run faster and better.
  • To make the soles of your feet comfortable.
  • To keep your ankle mobile after a run to prevent straining your calf muscles.
  • To prevent muscle tightness and shortening after a run.

If you do not do post-run stretches, your joints and muscles will remain immobile and stiff. These conditions will increase your risk of developing running injury.

Runners always make sure to do post-run stretches so, during their next run, their muscles and tendons remain loose.

Post-Run Stretches

Now that you know the importance of doing post-run stretches, you need to know which stretches are the best for you. Not all stretches are right for all runners. The post-run stretches for you will depend on your needs.

Walk the remaining five minutes of your route or treadmill.  Before doing post-run stretches, untie your shoes to make your feet breathe. It will also not tempt you to run again and skip your post-run stretches. It will also make your feet feel good.

Your feet will tend to swell after a run because of the increased blood flow and impact. Loosening your shoes will make your feet feel good and comfortable.

Here are nine essential post-run stretches you should do after a run. These stretches are good exercises to start with. They work on most muscle groups used by a runner.

Repeat as many rounds as you can do or need. You may or may not use a mat using a mat, though it will make executing each stretch more comfortable.

1. Hamstring Stretch

Lie face up on the mat. Place a strap on your right foot. Pull the strap to bring your right foot up. Pull the trip again to bring your foot to your chest. Hold this stretching position until you feel a slight stretch on the back of your right thigh. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Your chest needs to be up and back straight when doing this stretching exercise. You also need to lie flat on your back on the floor. Look up to the ceiling, too.

2. Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your left knee. Allow your ankle and knee to be at a 900 angle. Keep our right foot fixed on the floor. Keep your hips forward and your chest lifted. Hold the position for 30 seconds. This time, kneel on your right knee and repeat the same.

These post-run stretches work on your quadriceps muscles and hip flexors. This exercise reduces knee strain and lower-back.

3. Lower-Back Stretch

Lie flat on your back with bended knees flat on the flat. Grasp your right knee with both hands and bring your knee to your chest. Hold the position for 15 seconds.

This exercise is also for pain relief and lower back pain.

4. Figure-4 Stretch

Lie flat on the floor. Bend your right knee and place your right hand at the back of your thigh. Bring your left ankle to your right knee. Gently pull your right thigh towards your body. With your left hand, press your left knee down. This will give you a deeper stretch. Hold this position for 30 minutes. Repeat this movement with your left knee.

You will need some balance to do this stretching exercise. If you lose your balance, you will fall on your tailbone. This exercise will give you a deeper stretch.

5. Child’s Pose Stretch

Kneel on the floor. Pull your butt down and sit on the heels of your foot. Bend your body and bring your chest to the floor. This will make your head almost touch the floor.  Stretch your hands and bring them between your head.

Stretch your hands further on the floor until you can feel your lower back and thighs stretching.

6. Side-Lying Quadriceps Stretch

Lay on the floor on your right side. Place your left hand on your head with your elbow resting on the floor. Hold your left foot with your right hand and pull it towards your glutes. Pull your foot until you can feel the front of your thigh stretching. Hold this position for 30 minutes. Repeat 5 times. Repeat the process with your left side.

This stretching exercise can help reduce your risk of developing knee strain because it will make your quadriceps lose.

7. Thigh Stretch

Stand straight. Bend your right knee backward. Grab your foot on the top and pull your heel toward your buttock. This will stretch the front portion of your thigh. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat the same process with your left knee.

Keep your back straight while your knee touches your buttock. You can place your free hand on a bench or on the wall to maintain your balance.

8. Calf stretch

Stand straight and place your hands on your waste. Place your right foot forward. Bend your right leg while keeping your left leg straight. Keep both your feet pointing forward. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat the exercise with your left leg.

The calf stretch comes in many variations. You can do a lunging stretch by resting one hand on the wall. You can work at different distances from the wall.

9. Iliotibial band (ITB) Stretch

Stand straight with hands on your waist. Place your left leg behind your right leg. Lean-to your right with both feet firmly on the ground. Lean-to your right and bring your lift hip outwards. Avoid bending forward and sticking your buttocks.

Remember that in doing this stretch, you should feel your outer left thigh and hip stretching. You should also feel the back of your right leg just below the knee stretching.

Running every day can be challenging. Equally challenging is taking the additional 10 minutes for post-run stretching to cool down. Post-run stretching will help you cool down and be beneficial to your health and future runs.

Final Thoughts

Stretching after a run is great because it will enable you to warm up your muscles. Each post-run stretching exercise targets particular areas in your body, especially the part that gets tight during and after running.

Perform these post-run stretching exercises immediately after a run. Make sure to hold each stretch for between 15-30 seconds. Do as many repeats of the stretching exercises as you can.

Post-run stretching exercises not only loosens your muscles and strengthens your lower back, but they also prevent you from having lower back pain after a run. Post-run stretching also works to strengthen your arm, leg, and core muscles. When you schedule your daily run, make sure to include a few minutes for your post-run stretching exercises. A few minutes now can give you huge benefits in the future.

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