Jesse Owens - one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen - said of running that “I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs”. True, to be able to run is to be free. When you run your entire body gets toned. Running is one of the best forms of exercise. Easy and hassle free, it is not only good for the legs but for the overall fitness of the body. Various studies have found that running regularly has enormous health benefits. People with a daily routine of running reduce the risk of various heart diseases, as it increases the High Density Lipoproteins in the body. Running warms up the body and relaxes all the muscles which makes it a very good option before a total body workout. But for the body to take in all the benefits of running it requires that you should stretch your muscles effectively to increase its flexibility. So, if you are all geared up to run then do these stretching exercises before you go for it.
Stretching Exercises Before Running
Flexor Foot Back
- This is used to stretch the hip flexors.
- Kneel on the floor and put your right knee up. Place the foot flat on the floor slightly forward.
- Raise the left foot slightly by placing it on a six inch high rest.
- Move the hip forward to stretch the left hip flexor and hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat next for the right leg. You can also rotate the hips a little towards the left or the right. Do at least 3 sets.
- Take care not to bend the waist.
Booty Band Twist
- This exercise stretches the gluteus.
- Cross the right leg over the left leg while sitting on the floor.
- Cross the right leg in such a way that you are able to hug the knee to your chest and the left feet touches the right butt cheek.
- Now holding the right feet down hug the right knee onto the chest and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat for the next leg. Repeat the exercise for 3 sets.
Up And Over
- This exercise is used to stretch the chest and shoulders.
- Pull your arms behind the back, straight, and clasp them together while standing.
- Place your feet apart and then bend forward so that you bring the arms to the position where the head was before. The arms should remain clasped and behind the back.
- Bring the arms as far up as possible and hold the position for 30 seconds. This will give a good stretch to the arms, chest and shoulders.
- This is a very good exercise to stretch the quadriceps.
- Place one knee on a 3 feet high table by bending it behind you, and put the other leg forward.
- The forward leg should support the body weight while the bent leg should be relaxed.
- Stretch the bent leg behind and holding the feet bring it slowly towards the buttocks.
- Keep the body straight and hold for 20 seconds.
- Repeat with the other leg and do this cycle for 3 sets.
- Another way to do this exercise is to lie on the floor and holding the feet bring the heel, one at a time to touch the buttocks.
- One of the best ways to stretch the hamstrings.
- Take a table that is of the height of your hip.
- Now place the left foot, by the heel on top of the table keeping the knee straight.
- The right foot also should be kept straight.
- Keeping the body straight rotate the hips to the left and keep for 3 seconds and again rotate it towards the right keeping for 3 seconds.
- Now do this for the right leg and repeat the cycle for 10 sets.