5 Best Post Run Stretches
There are many issues to take care of post run. First is the post run recovery drink and then the cool down routine and stretching, among the many more. There are a lot of contradicting views on stretching. Yes, during warm up, stretching is not advisable as the muscles are still cold and prone to injury and during cooling down it may or may not help. As per a study done by Journal Of Strength and Conditioning Research, stretching done after workout improves hip flexibility.
I like to do some yoga after I finish off with my dynamic cooling down. According to research, yoga regime is found to reduce the effect of DOMS(delayed onset muscle soreness). So, implementing yoga in the training program by coaches and athletes maybe a good option, especially in the pre season or base phase.
After workout, it is important to stretch the muscles for flexibility, better blood flow, increase muscle strength, relaxation and above all to prevent injury. Stretching helps flushing out the lactic acid built up during workout and makes way for proper recovery. It’s benefits cannot be negated if an athlete wants to have an injury free and life long exercise routine. As a runner, there are few stretches which I like to do after my run. These stretches, which I am sharing, are primarily for runners as they focus more on the lower body.
It is an excellent stretch for calf, achilles, hamstrings, glutes, entire back and shoulders. Hold the pose for atleast 30 seconds and try to touch the heels on the ground keeping the knees straight. An interesting thing I noticed few days back is that my son also does this pose while playing and realised that it is common for kids to do. I guess small children are natural yogis.
2. Standing forward bend(Padahastanasana)
This stretch is also great for your hamstrings, calves, glutes, outer thigh muscles and lower back. Though it is tough to touch toes if you are a beginner but after regular practice you will be able to do it. Again hold this pose for atleast 30 seconds and do not bounce or give jerks. Keep it easy and smooth. As you keep practicing, your flexibility will keep increasing.
A variation to this exercise is that you can also do it sitting down(Paschimottanasana). While sitting down you can fold in one leg and can isolate the stretch on the other.
3. Pigeon pose(Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Again a good stretch for hamstrings and glutes. It also gives a good stretch to the groin region. A number of running injuries like hip pain, IT band, runner’s knee can be avoided with regular practice of this pose.
Running puts a lot of strain on the lower back. This pose will give strength to your back by engaging it in a full range of motion. Also the crossover of legs gives a deep stretch to glutes and hamstrings. Do not give jerks while doing this pose and hold it for atleast 30 seconds and then change sides.
It is an excellent exercise for the back, stomach and groin region. Again hold the pose for atleast 30 seconds.
The above mentioned poses targets all the major muscle groups involved in running. Stretching after running, for me, seems to be a end point of the workout. These yoga poses helps calm my body and mind and delivers a sense of serenity. All the studies and researches may at some point of time say a different story but yoga helps the body and mind. Regular practice is the key.
Till then stay fit and keep running.
Do you practice yoga?
What poses do you love the most?